Us: Laura’s Two Dads

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There are truisms in this life that cannot be argued against, regardless of race, nationality or creed. One of those truisms is there are major differences between raising girls and boys. I have been blessed to have been given the charge of two boys and one girl, with Laura landing in the middle of the pack. We did not know the sex of any of our children before they were born so when Laura arrived, we were thrilled, satisfied our little family was now wrapped in a tidy bow with one child of each gender. And since they were only 22 months apart, we were still fresh off William’s infancy and were confident about adding another kid to the mix. Yes, we were naïve and silly, but we did not know that. Yet.

The first thing I did was start praying a very specific prayer, one I began during our first pregnancy just in case God blessed us with a girl. I asked God to make her confident and secure and that she would lack nothing emotionally, deriving everything she needed from her two dads—the heavenly and earthly ones. That she would be so sure of who she was in Jesus that not just any guy could sweep her off her feet, but he would have to be special and make the earthly transition from me to him easy and fun. And God answered. She grew up bold and confident and never had a date until after college. (I am sure there were days she regretted I ever prayed that prayer.) Alas, getting from that birthing room to today has been quite a journey.

When she was young, we did the typical dad and daughter activities—tea parties with stuffed animals, dancing to 70's music and listening to her tell me about any and everything. I have vivid memories of picking her up from a birthday party and asking the simple question, “Did you have fun?” and spending the entire ride home listening to every minute detail of the party, non-stop, until we pulled into the garage at home. Several times I stopped to get gas and she insisted I roll the window down so she could continue to talk to me while I stood outside at the pump. I know that comes as a shock to anyone who knows her today (insert sarcastic eye roll here).

But it was when she entered middle school that our relationship took on a different air. In general, middle school is evil. The colliding of hormones and insecurities has the ability to cause a lot of damage and I was determined to do all I could to prepare her for battle. She was comfortable enough with me to ask questions as she crawled through the minefield that is sixth through eighth grade and I was determined to be honest and talk straight with her. If she was aggravated that certain girls were getting attention and she wasn't, I would dig a little deeper and find out that those girls tended to dress a bit different than Laura. I would then explain what the guys paying attention to them were actually thinking when looking at those girls (or any girl for that matter).  I am not sure she believed me at first, but it didn't take long for her to become convinced. It was also at this time that I came up with one of my more memorable bits of advice: Bottom line, you will stay out of a whole lot of trouble if you just keep your pants on. Yes, it was initially greeted with an embarrassed, “Daddy!” but it has lived in infamy ever since. And it worked.

We continued to have good conversations throughout high school, battling all the usual demons of body issues, motivation, mean girls and school. And all the while we talked about Jesus and church and life. And as she got older, a great thing happened: the spiritual talks began to dominate and the topics got deeper. After high school she traveled the world and we continued our conversations via instant chat messages, talking our way through questions and experiences, giving me opportunities to share my heart and to learn about hers.

Yes, we are a lot alike, but I don't think that is the only reason we are close. Women are a mystery created by a mysterious God but He does create a special bond between daughters and dads. I embraced that gift and, even though there has been a lot of work mixed in with the joy, I am honored to be a representative of God in her life and I can assure you I have received more from our relationship than her. 

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