Wednesday, December 27, 2006


As I write this, I am sitting in Morris William’s house in Denton, Texas. Baby Madison is taking a mid-day nap upstairs; She Who Must Be Obeyed, Elder Daughter, the Mistress of Sarcasm and I are watching Mean Girls on the DVD player.

Actually, SWMBO, Elder Daughter, and the Mistress are watching the DVD. I am sneaking the occasional peek as I pound away at the keyboard on SWMBO’s laptop.

It’s a rare delight, having all of my girls together in one room.

The Mistress of Sarcasm flew in from Atlanta last night. She’ll ride back with us in the car in a couple of days. Based on past experience, she will sleep at least eight of the 13 hours the trip will take.

In the last few days, I’ve had a chance to see Elder Daughter in a new light.

I’ve watched her at a gathering of her grandmother’s friends, talking confidently and comfortably with elderly people, most of whom she had never met. I have observed the ease with which she would initiate conversations, draw people out.

And I have had a chance to talk with her at length about various Matters of Personal Import.

It has been a real epiphany for me, an epiphany that may have begun two months ago when the Missus and I visited E.D. at her new digs in Washington. As she dressed for dinner with her boyfriend’s parents, I began to see her in a new light - as the mature woman she is in the process of becoming. The hours we have spent together this weekend have served to confirm that impression.

There comes a time - if one is fortunate - when a father realizes that his offspring have, in some significant way, exceeded him. As I listened to Elder Daughter, I had exactly that realization: that she has powers of observation, analysis, and empathy with respect to human relationships that, in many ways, far surpass my own. She is wise, my child.

It’s the damnedest thing, this business of being a Daddy. Your children start out tiny, vulnerable, helpless. You are the pillar of strength in their lives, the fount of all blessings, the source of all wisdom. And gradually, slowly, inexorably, they grow...

...and then, one day, you realize that your children have something original to say, and that while they may still come to you for advice and counsel, they are sufficiently experienced and intelligent to offer their own. And you feel...successful.

It’s a fine, fine feeling.

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