I keep a drawer of beat-up books that I like to open a lot.
One’s a book of coaches’ quotes. I gain perspective from my sideline squad. Another’s a book of lists for parents. I’ve scribbled in that a lot. Another is a pocket-sized, tattered book called “Father to Daughter.” It’s a collection of advice fathers have given.
Occasionally, I’ll grab one of the sentences in it and expound upon it.
My conversation with a T-mobile customer service rep that turned to fatherhood inspired this. I’d love to hear your take on the topic, from the perspective of a parent or having been that daughter with your father.
The wonder years | #126
Remind her to never interrupt while she’s being flattered
My girls are a bit brash.
Bit understates that, I feel. They’re not braggadocious, though, unless you count the shit talk they toss at each other. Many of the compliments they garner while they play soccer, they don’t even hear. I do, though.
Some can’t be called compliments, truth be told.
But even the pointed words are complimentary in a way. They signify that my daughter has sufficiently ruined their afternoon with their high level of play. Even if a mom calls for someone to “bodyslam” that girl.
This acceptance of flattery thing has never been a specific lesson for these girls.
They’ve definitely had a model in me, and not in the best way. See, to me, everything – bad news, sad news, happy news, CNN news (ha!) should be met with comedy. Especially of the self-deprecating variety.
I’m basically Richard Lewis with more pigment.
Sometimes, fashion victory comes in the form of matching socks. Or footwear decisions that don’t make me look like someone’s grandpa (or clothing decisions that don’t make me look like someone’s grandson.)
Other times, I clean it up and look sharp(ish.)
When someone says You look nice today I’ll quip back Well I showered, so I might as well put on some clean clothes. I’m especially horrible at accepting a complimentary comment on my writing. I turn jeevy and prattle on about shortcomings and lack of intelligence.
It’s kinda sad, an allergy to kind words, when all you need to say is “thanks.”
I ordered a box of glasses frames years ago to try on. Women at work helped me narrow the choices to five and I tried them out one by one. The style brought on different comments, and I heard from people who looked way past me before.
I love those glasses one dreamboat uttered as I passed her on the stairs, wearing a clear-frame model that one of my players said made me look like Mahatma Gandhi.
Thanks I said, and it’s good that I was moving and she was staying and involved in another conversation. I’d have quipped about them covering my face and eventually to the fact that they’re not even glasses, really, and that makes my face a bit of a fraud.
These daughters, it turns out, are the ones teaching the lessons.
Accept, acknowledge, move on. They do it genuinely when someone says incredible game, kid. One dad told me Camdyn must get it from me after she scored a beautiful goal last weekend on a turf field on a day so sunny I drank Coke Zero with ice in it afterward.
Oh man, I said, I was so lousy at sports that God must be trying to make up for it.
Funny, sure, and I’m okay with that one. I never want to claim responsibility for their success, as I watched a boy do when his brother scored in a high school game. My girls have made it this far despite my athletic ineptitude and that’s the truth.
Know what, though? I did coach them when they were little.
Those formative years, that they don’t openly acknowledge as crucial to their development. They don’t see it now. They see the next game, the next level. And that’s how it should be. And they’re headed for great memories and experiences.
I’ll take that as a compliment.