So, recently I’ve started to muse on my qualities as both a human being and a father. Why do I react the way I do to certain stimuli? What is it that makes me feel a certain way? How much of my angst-ridden crap am I inadvertently passing to my daughter? Am I a good person? Do I want my daughter to be like me?
To the latter, yes; in some very important ways. I want her to enjoy being silly; I want her to dance around like a mentalist, sticking her tongue out, blowing raspberries and laughing herself into a collapse as much when she’s 50 as she does now. I want her to have conversations in languages that don’t exist with people who know what she isn’t talking about and can join in unfettered by social mores as much when she’s 50 as she does now. I want her to eventually like sprouts, preferably way before she’s 50. I want her to understand that licking the yoghurt out of the bowl instead of using a spoon is probably not the right thing to do when you’re at a dinner party when you’re 50 (but that she can carry on doing it at home when nobody’s looking). I want her to carry on dressing her teddy-bear up in women’s clothes even though he’s a he, and if she wants to still be doing that at 50, more power to her.
But in other ways, no. I don’t want her to carry around guilt, ever, for anything. I don’t want her to be the kind of person that loses old friends because she doesn’t take the time not to. I don’t want her to question who she is, or if she’s a good person, or to be scared of expressing what she’s feeling. I don’t want her to know the pain of loss.
But she will. I know that. It’s part of life. The only thing I can really do is to be there for her and fill her with faith that I will listen, understand, offer advice when asked, keep my mouth shut when not, and ultimately whatever else may happen, fill her soul and mind with the knowledge and the feeling that she is utterly loved, without conditions. That’s all I can do. And really that’s as much as I can do.
Oh, and of course remember the Tickling Tree and bring it up constantly in front of her friends.