Let Your Dad Tell You a Secret…
A good part of Sunday was spent cleaning. This was a necessity due to the fact that, for three straight days, I was sick. Probably just a cold but it took me down like a Mack truck hitting a mosquito.
So Sunday came around and I started cleaning, pushing my kids to do the same. It was after the 8-odd loads of laundry that I looked in my own bedroom and decided it was time . . . time to remove about six years worth of clothing.
Most of it, you see, was worn out or faded or what have you. Still wearable and washed I put them in bags to donate to Goodwill. Some of it was, admittedly, just too big now. I made a conscious decision to eat better and lose weight, changing the way we eat and act in our home. It’s not easy and it meant changing an entire lifestyle, not just “oh, let’s eat less.” I have high cholesterol and my kids were suffering from my meal choices and I needed to get healthier. It wasn’t for me near as much as it was to set and example for them. They need to keep their father around a little longer. The fact that I attempted to mow the lawn or do laundry while sick proved it: my kids were yelling at me to sit down and rest. I would add . . . none of them offered to do the laundry or mow, they just told me not to do it. So . . . yeah, there is that.
But my middle daughter came in and saw the mountain of clothes – six or more years worth – and asked if she could have a sweatshirt I’d put there.
“Sure,” I told her, “but it’s for a guy.”
“That’s okay,” she informed me. “Girl stuff is too thin and and is always these bright ugly colors.
That statement by my daughter weighed on me all day. I didn’t know what it was . . . my middle is the tomboy. She likes the guitar, wears a hooded sweatshirt everywhere – even when it’s 105 degrees outside. She’s not the “girly girl” her sister is. But it bothered me. Finally, I decided I should say something about it.
“You know,” I told her as we did the dishes together, “you may think that women’s clothes are too colorful or girly . . . but one day you won’t mind so much.”
“Yeah, I know,” she said. “It’s not the colors, it’s just they don’t wear right.”
It’s here I told her a little something . . .
“Let me tell you a secret,” I informed her. “There is always the talk that guys are only interested in sex. And, sure, at 15 through 18 or 19, I suppose that’s always first on their minds.” She rumpled her eyebrows together like she wanted no part of this conversation.
“But when your mother used to complain that it wasn’t worth it to do the work . . . to do her hair and put on her makeup and fancy shoes and fitted clothes . . . I was always bowled away,” I told her. “It wasn’t because she was sexy – and she was – but because she put all that effort into it . . . and it felt like it was for me.” My daughter looked at me funny.
“Guys should like you for you . . . but we like to get dressed up once in awhile, too. We hate the tie, the suit, the layers of clothes and unforgiving dress shoes . . . but it’s fun to know you look pretty good in a suit or tux or just clothes in general.”
My daughter rolled her eyes.
“I’m not saying you do it every day. But once in awhile . . . you might not mind some color here and there. I know you could care less now and I am fine with that . . . but one day you’re going to show up with makeup, a dress maybe, and – God forbid! – lipstick and I’ll just sit here and smiiiilllleeeee!”
“Not gonna happen,” she told me.
“Sure,” I informed her.
“But when it does . . . I’ll poke fun of you. Until the guy shows up. Then I’ll put on my hockey mask and hold a baseball bat. Just so he knows where I stand.”
My daughter threw a towel at me and headed up the stairs and closed her door. Loudly.