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February 11, 2007

Daddy Daughter Time

I spent some one-on-one time with Taylor and Madison over the past couple of weeks. Being teenagers, the opportunity to spend quality time with them is rare. Teens have plenty of pressing priorities including, but not limited to, texting friends, school, boys, calling friends, work, listening to the iPod, boys, getting together with friends, extra-curriculars, church, surfing MySpace, boys, instant messaging friends...oh yeah, and boys. Granted, that list requires intense amounts of time, and good ol' dad usually ranks pretty low on the priority meter - below all of the items I've just listed and just above "chores" and "getting mono".

That's why I was shocked when Taylor actually asked for "Daddy-Daughter" time the other week. It was sort of like winning the parental powerball. I was so bolstered by my wave of good fortune that I asked Madison if she'd like some "Daddy-Daughter" time too. She said she'd be happy to spend some quality time with me on Saturday...forgetting that she was scheduled to be out of town with the show choir all day. So, at the last minute we had to move the schedule around spend some time together on Friday night.

"Daddy-Daughter time" started when the girls were very young. I have vivid memories of taking giggling girls hand-in-hand to Chuck E. Cheese, Discovery Zone, and Disney - though Madison said she most fondly remembers early morning runs to Mr. Donut. The girls and I would go to the playground or go to an I-Cubs game and have a really fun time together.

Those days are gone.

It's not that time with the girls isn't fun anymore - not exactly. It's just that Daddy-daughter time with teenagers is much different. Somewhere along the line it stopped being about playing and started being more about shopping. So it was that  Friday night Madison and I headed to Des Moines for some quality Daddy-Daughter time at the mall.

Both the mall and the parking lot were unexpectedly packed for a Friday night. I knew that Madison wanted to go to Hollister* to look for some jeans, so I figured I'd save us both some time and her a long walk in the chilly Iowa wind. I pulled up to the front of the mall and dropped her off at the entrance, telling her that I'd come find her in Hollister after I finished parking the car in Northern Ontario.

"Um, Dad? If you want, you can just wait outside Hollister and call me. It's really crowded in there and it's hard to move around. It's not set up very well. You don't need to come into the store."

[sigh] Dad. Leper. Ebola virus. I get it.

She called me a bit later after she'd purchased her jeans and we met up near the food court and had dinner together.

I'm being fairly tongue-in-cheek, of course. The reality is that I cherish every moment I have with both of my girls - even taking them to the mall and waiting outside the lastest, greatest money-pit-posing-as-a-clothing-store. Most parents would kill to have their teens say one civil and/or coherent word to them. I'm blessed to have two beautiful, intelligent, articulate girls who will - on occasion - talk to me about their friends, their faith, and even about boys (well - sometimes - I'm not sure I always get the complete story there, but it's better than no story at all).

Daddy-Daughter time happens less frequently these days. It gets sandwiched in-between much higher priorities on the teen schedule - but it does happen.

Thank you, God.

*For you old people, Hollister is one of the current really "awesome" places for teens to shop - where you pay just less than the gross national income of Togo for clothes of questionable quality sold in a mock surf-hut in the middle of Iowa.


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