Monday, March 17, 2008

For One of my Favorite Patricks

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I am posting a special tribute to on of my favorite Patricks (shout out to Patrick Mahoney, too). This is to Patrick of the Heritage Valley Posse, who happens to be one of my husband’s best and longest friends, and also a man on the verge of fatherhood. His lovely wife Jeanine is due with their baby girl this June, and I thought now would be as good a time as any to offer the “Silver Fox” the best advice or “head’s up” for all that comes with raising a girl.

The Top Ten Things Every Father Should Know or Consider: (Forgive the saccharine sentimentality…I just happen to have an unbelievable Dad, who modeled all of the following):

10) You may think that, because you have a sister (shout out to Heather), a wife (what’s up, Jeanine), and even a mother (word to Ronnie), you have women pretty much figured out. This brings me to my first bit of advice: Whether she is six months, six years, or six decades, you will never truly understand a woman-- best to accept that now and hunker down for the wild ride ahead.

9) How you look at women will also change drastically. You may have, at one time, not minded a mini-skirt or other form fitting clothes. Ummm….you will now. Just try to let her explore her own self-expression, while keeping her off the pole (that is straight out of my brother’s mouth, btw)

8) Love your wife completely: always speak to her with warmth, listen with understanding, hold her hand, stand by her side, and know that with every gesture, you are showing your impressionable little miss how a man should treat a woman.

7) Though your world ended the day Gilmore Girls went off the air, your exposure to girl drama has only been slight. Your little wonder will someday be a teenage girl, and only then will you learn the true meaning of what a soap opera is.

6) Up until now, the female body may seem somewhat complicated, confusing, or even mysterious. After having a toddler who has yet to grasp the beauty of high fashion and prefers nudity (they all do)….the female form will quickly lose all mystery.

5) Many people speculate that girls tend to look for a mate that bears a certain likeness to dear old dad. That being said, when a teenage boy with a big smile, bigger heart, gray highlights, and a beer chugging champion t-shirt steps out of his car (with Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” blaring from the speakers)….lock your doors and ground her.

4) When given the opportunity to watch the Eagles from the 50 yard line, or enjoy her dance recital from the comfort of some old bleachers in an auditorium with no air conditioning, guess which one you’ll happily opt for? (And I’m sure it won’t end with you hurling obscenities at the “participants”).

3) Remember that, at least for a while, you’ll be the only man in her life. So, try to be everything you want the “future man in her life” to be. Choose your words and your actions carefully, and always let her know that she is loved (even when she tries out her new chalk on your car).

2) There will come a time when you take her to the playground and another child will take out their own frustrations on her. It may be a push, a kick, or even a nasty name calling episode. Resist the urge to engage this child in conflict. Yes, you are bigger and can do serious harm to the evildoer. Yes, you can come up with a lot better names than what the little malcontent had to offer. And, yes, you probably will be able to beat up that kid’s dad (especially if you have your brother’s assistance—hey Kevin). All of these will do more harm than good and so, simply comfort her and reassure her. By doing that, you will already have gone a long way with #3.

1) Just because she is not a boy, don’t deprive of her of all the things you have to offer. Teach her to throw a ball, fix a flat, lose gracefully, win humbly, and take honor in everything she does…whether she’s pursuing a soccer ball, or her dreams.

I realize I have just scratched the proverbial surface with this list and so, please feel free to add to it in the comment section…

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