The Caterpillar Years

It’s the night before the first day of school for my little second grader. She can hardly wait. Her backpack has been filled with school supplies for weeks now. She misses her friends.

Oh she loves summer and goodness knows we did tons of things, but she’s at that special age when she really loves school. And I’m glad for that.

I read something today that I thought was SO worth sharing. It’s called “50 Rules for Dads of Daughters” and it’s fantastic.

Of course, I’m not a dad, but I have one. And – I’m married to one. After reviewing this list, I’d say they are both pretty much in line with this blogger’s sage advice.

A few of the rules made me pause.

Rules that made me think of my own dad:
#15 – Dance with her. Start when she’s a little girl or even when she’s a baby. Don’t wait until her wedding day. I have fond memories of being six or so and dancing while standing on my dad’s feet…

#42 – Let her know you can always come home – no matter what. I moved home a few times in my life and always knew that I could stay as long as I needed to get my feet back on the ground.

#30 – Never miss her birthday. In ten years she won’t remember the present you gave her. She will remember if you weren’t there. My dad never missed a birthday, a dance recital, a sporting event, a school play, you name it. I have vivid recollections of him in a three piece suit walking on to a field during one of my out of town track meets. He happened to be in the area and stopped by to encourage me. At the time it was so embarrassing (high school days), but looking back it was very sweet.

#49 – (shown with a picture of a little girl walking down the driveway…leaving home). This day is coming soon. There’s nothing you can do to be ready for it. The sooner you accept this fact, the easier it will be. My dad still thinks of my sister and me as being young kids. Even though we are each grown with lives of our own. So the irony here is that he is so proud of us that it’s hard for him to let us go. But let us go, he has. Although if need be, he can totally track one of us down in a random airport in between flights. I know this from experience…

Rules that made me think of my husband:
#6 – Buy her a glove and teach her to throw a baseball. Make her proud to throw like a girl…a girl with a wicked slider. My husband loves sports – mostly baseball and football. And he loves showing our older daughter how to do things. It’s their special time together. I do crafts, cooking, homework and reading. But my husband teaches her how to throw and catch, how to sled (despite being from Texas!) and how to do complex puzzles. And he never makes her feel like she can’t do something simply because she’s a girl. The thought never enters her mind.

#18 – Tell her she’s beautiful. Say it over and over again. Someday an animated movie or beauty magazine will try to convince her otherwise. John and I are on the same page with this one. We tell both our daughters how beautiful they are – on the inside and the outside.

#22 – She’s as smart as any boy. Make sure she knows that. Again – same page. We never lower our expectations of either of our girls simply because they are girls.

#39 – Holding her upside down by the legs while she giggles and screams uncontrollably is great for your biceps. And I would add – holding her up so high that her little head touches the ceiling is loads of fun too.

#41 – Take it easy on the presents for her birthday and Christmas. Instead, give her the gift of experiences you can share together. This is perhaps the hallmark of our parenting. It’s not that we don’t like to indulge our daughters. Because we do. It’s just that we both value people and experiences so much more. It doesn’t matter how many presents are under the Christmas tree. In fact, I’ll bet a million dollars that she can’t name three things she got for Christmas last year. But ask her about our famous road trips? What states she’s been to? What her favorite vacation spots are? Yeah, she could go on and on for days with memories about our family trips.

My all-time favorite rule from this blog post?

#43. Remember, just like a butterfly, she too will spread her wings and fly someday. Enjoy the caterpillar years.



One thought on “The Caterpillar Years

  1. Pingback: The Caterpillar Years – Take 2 | These Are The Days

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