Just after my wife found out she was pregnant, we had the following exchange:
“I hope it’s a boy,” said my wife.
“Why?” I asked. “I don’t know if I could live up to the expectations of being father to a boy. I don’t hunt, fish, or play sports. We’d be destined to have a nerd.”
“Better a nerd boy than a teenage girl,” said my wife. “I was a teenage girl and it was horrible. If we have a girl, we’re leaving her at the hospital.”
“Um,” I said.
Things have turned around since then. Even before we found out that we were going to have a girl, my wife started secretly hoping for one. And now, our hopes have been answered by not one but two girls.
I can’t imagine my family any other way. I love my girls madly.
There remains the fact that they will someday become teenage girls. I have mixed feelings on this. From the observations I’ve made since becoming a father, teenage girls are strange creatures. They can be awkward and self-absorbed, annoying and without any sense of propriety. In fact, they have probably always been like this since Adam and Eve spawned their first strange relations for Cain and his brothers.
But for as many examples as there are of selfie-shooting gum-chewers, there are always a few polite girls that make me think, “Their parents did something right.”
But what did they do? Seriously, help me out here. I’ve only got a decade to steer my girls along the narrow path of healthy body images, proper manners, and respect for her fellow humans. I’d like to think that I’m doing things right, but that may just be a parent’s fallacy.
So, if you are a female and you think you managed your teenage years without any serious emotional (or physical) scars, what made that the case? What did your parents do or not do to equip you for a successful future?
And if my girls are destined, despite my best efforts, to become everything that annoys me about teenage girls, how do I overcome that?