|The Princess & Me|
Mothers have long recognized that their daughters are, in fact, their greatest rivals for their husband's attention, assuming their hubbies are not complete, self-centered, philandering jerks, of course.
My wife once complained, "Meghan just can't do any thing wrong with you, can she? She's just your little princess!"
"Uh, yeah," I responded lamely, not at all getting her point. Fathers are kind of doofuses where their daughters are concerned. From the time they are born we become their instant protectors. It's not that we aren't also the protectors of their mothers. We are. Just watch how a bunch of men behave when a pregnant woman enters the room. They suddenly become all solicitous and treat her like she was a big raw egg in danger of being broken at any moment. It may be that when his wife is in need of protecting, it's one of the few times that men know exactly how to behave. By nature, I am a patient man, not prone to violence, but threaten my wife or daughter and I will readily take up arms to defend them.
If we dote on our daughters a bit, it's because they start out so tiny. When we meet our wives they are usually fully grown and quite independent and throughout our relationship with them, they readily remind us about just how independent they are. The bond between husbands and wives is, therefore, a union of equals.
Daughters, on the other hand, come to us tiny and helpless and cute and dependent. The bond that happens with daughters and fathers is something almost magical and that's saying a lot since I don't believe in magic. That bond is permanent and becomes the model for a father's relationship with his daughter for the rest of her life. It doesn't matter if your daughter is 65 years old, she's still your little girl and always will be. We can never quite let them grow up. I imagine if Sarah Palin were to become president of the United States, her Dad would feel exactly the same kind of pride he did when she brought home her first portrait of "Daddy" for the refrigerator art gallery. He'd also probably want to beat up a few dozen news commentators and an assortment of senators and congressmen for insulting his baby girl. It's just how fathers are wired up.
My daughter is one of the most competent people I know. Reminds me a lot of her Mom. It's tough being a bumbling sort of odd ball around two such formidable women and maintaining any semblance of dignity. Whatever they criticize me for, I probably deserve it. I know I can't hope to do anything as well as they do. So, I try to do the few things I know I'm relatively skilled at as well as I can - like lifting heavy boxes and squashing spiders and stuff. If I ever get to where I can't do that, I'm not sure what I'll do.
Good Dads set very high standards from the very beginning for how people should treat their daughters. It's why my daughter once complained when she was in eighth grade that all the boys at her school were afraid of me and my two sons. She felt like we were cramping her style most severely. We King males, however, felt like we were just protecting our little princess from evil-doers and nasty-minded boys. My two boys were enough older than she was that they also took a protective role, so the poor thing went through most of school with three large protectors lurking not so unobtrusively in the shadows ready to pounce.
One hapless young man said some impolite things to Meghan one day in eighth grade. Meghan blew him off. She had loads of self-confidence even then and did not tolerate fools. As the boy turned to walk away, he ran straight into my son, Micah's, chest. Micah was already 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighed about 240 pounds. He caught the boy by the front of the shirt and lifted him clean off the ground.
As the young man hung from Micah's massive hands, his little feet dangling a good six inches off the floor, Micah got nose to nose with him. "We don't talk to my sister like that, do you understand?" he growled menacingly. The boy went pale and croaked something unintelligible while nodding his head. Micah set him back down on the floor and he scurried away. Micah didn't tell Meg about the incident for a long time. He did, however, tell me and his brother.
He got a high-five from the old man, I'm here to tell you.
So "Happy Birthday, Princess." Dad's still got your back. Just let me know who you need me to take care of, okay.