Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Which Is Softer? Butter? Or A Dad With His Daughter?

After decades of disc jockeying weddings, anniversaries, milestone birthday parties, graduation parties and such, one moment that I have always enjoyed is playing a special song that would always be remembered by the parents and the child, one special song that both would remember where they were when they hear it again and again.  I have played many of these opportunities for mother and son, mother and daughters, sister to sister, but almost always garunteed to be the tear-jerker, is a song for a father and his daughter.  I learned this to be extremely appreciated from wedding receptions, but soon found out, that even with a child as young as kindergarten, loved that three to four minutes, alone with her daddy.

I was never short on songs to choose from either.  With an endless supply of country artists writing song after song about their daughters growing up, Daddy/Daughter dances actually became one of my favorite events to play at.  Tim McGraw – “My Little Girl”.  John Berry – “How Much Do You Love Me”.  Steve Kirwin – “My Little Girl”.  Alabama – “Daddy’s Little Girl”.  It is during moments like that the relationship is founded, established, and remembered, forever.  And you can see clearly who has who wrapped around her little finger.

I love both my daughters equally and unconditionally.  I am fairly strict especially when it comes to getting the homework and house chores done.  There is a joke that if you ask the girls what kind of dad I am, they will tell you that I am the “no” daddy.  I say “no” to most impulse things because I would rather surprise them with a “yes” than disappoint them with a “no.”  You know what I mean, when walking by those stupid impulse machines with the little plastic eggs with the waste of money tatoos or finger rings, but they “want one.”

I would consider both of my daughters master manipulators.  It is not unusual for those around me to consider me an ogre as Madison and Emmalie turn on the water works for anyone who will believe them.  I will suffer defeat nearly all of the time, and the girls know this.

One of the biggest moments came while visiting with friends, hours away from home.  Not an exageration, we live on opposite sides of the state.  But it took no time at all for our friends to invite us to the neighbor’s home to see the eight week kittens that lived under the neighbor’s grill.  I know my weaknesses, so of course, I do not need to go see the kittens.  I knew they were cute and fluffy with tiny stubby tails and quiet mews.  But twenty minutes later, Madison would mount her biggest assault on my “melt button”.

Several of our friends were arriving back at our host’s home, all with the same words, “oh Paul, you are in trouble.  Big trouble.  Wendy’s bringing one with her.”  I have now only a 5% survival rate at this point.  I face this challenge by sitting on the patio chair, arms folded, ignoring the fact that the three conspirators were now going to wage the biggest guilt trip on me.  Wendy places the tiny calico kitten on my shoulder.  I refuse to look it her.  I tried to remain strong.  Then Madison stepped up to the plate.

“Daddy, please.  She has no home.  How would you like it if you had no one?”  And then her tears began.  There is silence except for the increasing sobs.  A couple recongitions from the two of the other dads, “You are really a jerk.  You are doing the right thing.  But wow, you are being harsh.”  Five minutes (seemed like an eternity to me), Wendy grabbed the kitten from my shoulder and told Madison, “I’m sorry Maddy.  Daddy is right.  We cannot take the kitten home with us.  I should not have brought her over like this.”  Wendy begins to walk the kitten back to her makeshift nest with her siblings.  Madison burst into hysterics.

I had to do something at that point.  I asked Madison to follow me to the front of the house so that we could have a calm conversation with each other, so that my seven year-old could understand.  We had a sick kitten at home already who was not expected to survive.  It was a six hour drive home.  We already had a full house of animals.  And so on.  And then, as I am known, I placed the decision in the hands of Madison.  She has an understanding of consequences and rewards.  I explained to her, that I had planned a surprise for her on the way home (and I did have this planned), to stop at the Boyd’s Bear Factory and Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park.  Which we could not do either if we had a kitten in the car as we were in the middle of summer and she could not be left alone in the car, nor could go into either place.  Madison took about five minutes of thought, and then gave me her decision.  “I want the kitten.”  I gave her the choice.

It should come of no surprise, that a nearly every day occurence is me proclaiming “no more pets.”  And then Christmas Eve, another attack was being planned.  While gathering with family for the holidays, one cousin informed us that their pair of bunnies had little bunnies.  NNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!  And so it began, everyone handling and carrying these little furry bodies that could easily fit inside of a coffee mug.  Though I was surrounded by family instead of friends, I still expected no different a result in regards to support for me.  And of course, the tears from Madison came, as well as the confirmation that at least one of her cousins was going to be taking home one of the babies for Christmas.

Butter.  Parkay.  Butter.  Parkay.  Butter.  Parkay.  What the Hell am I going to do when the decisions get even more difficult and important?


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