It’s not what you think. (Well, I’m not sure what you’re really thinking, but it’s not even what you’re thinking.)
So I got home the other night and my oldest daughter was trying on a dress that she pulled out of her closet. It’s a beautiful dress, one that she wore some time ago, but not many people have seen it. She was trying it on because the dress she wanted for Homecoming wasn’t in her size. She tried on this particular dress even though she wanted to wear it for her prom.
As she was there, in the living room, in front of the mirror, though, I heard her grumbling at her sister, Hannah . . .
“You’re not doing it right, Hannah, you have to zip it and . . . ”
I pushed Hannah out of the way and managed to zip Abbi’s dress up in half a second. She looked gorgeous, by the way. She was disappointed, though, because she wanted to wear it for prom. So I promised – considering I’ve managed to budget OK in the last few weeks – to get her a dress on Sunday.
It made her night. She turned around and said simply, “can you . . . ” pushing her zipper toward me.
“Of course.” Then . . . the next part just kinda slipped out. “…not like I haven’t had a lot of experience doing this.”
Now . . . I didn’t mean it the way it sounds. Without sounding too gratuitous, yes, I’d *ahem* removed a few of Andrea’s dresses. More often than not, though, it was “I’m dying in this dress…will you unzip me?” That was inevitably followed by the pad of her feet moving to the closet to remove said party dress. The following moments were usually with her in sweat pants and a big Creighton University sweatshirt. Not really the sexiest of scenarios. (Though I have to admit, it was nice having her relaxed and lying in my arms. I do miss that.)
Still . . . it’s not how my daughter took it.
“Ewww. Thanks, have that vision in my head all night now. Thanks, Dad. Ugh.”
That’s what I got. “Ugh.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. I see myself in the mirror – and even though I’ve managed to lose another 10 pounds, I can’t really look long without being a bit angry with myself for getting here. Hoping that changes in the next couple months so I’m at least able to wear some of my clothes from a few years ago.
Still, it opens up a major question. In weeks past, when I’ve had any time alone with any woman, my daughters have had some nitpicky issues with it. They don’t want to see their Dad with anyone else, I’m fairly sure of that. It’s not that they expressed the worry, but I know my kids. I can hear it in their voices and see it in their body language. It’s funny, too, because none of the moments I’ve had alone have been romantic ones. They’ve been for work or just meeting for a beer with friends. Nothing close to putting myself out there. It really cracks me up they’re that worried for nothing.
But I don’t really use that as a litmus test. 9 years. I’ve figured it out. 9 years is how much time I have with kids in my house. That’s not a lot of time, when you consider I still look at Abbi and think of that little girl from 9 years ago. In some ways the last year and a has felt like ten years. They will start their lives and I’ll have to make some difficult choices about my own. In some ways I see time speeding up and I’m losing a grip on the moment as well. Time has found a way to right itself in our lives, whether we were ready for it or not.
So when I hear my daughter say “ewww” when I simply mention the ability to unzip a fancy dress it actually makes me smile. These little moments don’t disturb or bother me any more. They show me that we’re farther ahead than we thought right now.
Though the disgusted “ugh!” I could have lived without.