Losing my wing girl

When my wife and I had kids, people always told us how you would be amazed how quickly boys gravitate towards mom and girls do the same with dad. Yeah right, I thought, I work in sports for a living, my son’s gonna love me.

He does, but he will kick dirt on my shoes and shove me out of his way to get to his mom. Grrr.

Fortunately, since day one, my daughter’s really been a daddy’s girl. Maybe it’s because my schedule is/was flexible enough that it was always me driving her to ballet or gymnastics or soccer. Before her little brother was born, we’d probably spend at least one Saturday or Sunday a month going to the movies together or a zoo while mommy cooled her jets.

But a couple of weeks ago, she turned seven. She’s getting to be more girl by the day. Not in a bad way, but in a way that sort of shuts me out more than I’d care to. It reminds my of a column I wrote about a year ago, just before she started kindergarten.

We have this connection, one that will never go away, but one that is changing. Enjoy.

So my daughter starts kindergarten tomorrow. Chances are pretty good, someone in my house is going to be a blubberin’ mess. Maybe not “Hey, dad, are you ready to walk me down the aisle?” blubberin’ mess, but probably not too far off.
What’s that got to do with sports? Not a whole heck of a lot really, but you’ve got to remember, this kid’s been through the grinder with me.
A few years ago, I was fortunate to have a flexible enough schedule that she was able to go to a lot of events with me. Most weeks in the fall went like this: Girls soccer game on Monday, cross country or field hockey on Tuesday, boys soccer on Wednesday, home Thursday, football on Friday. Other than football, she was with me more than half of the time.
I’d set up my chair behind the goal of the old Danville soccer field, dump out a pile of coloring books and toys and it was game on, for both of us. I would sit and watch the game, she would use markers to make her legs look like rainbows.
On good days the coach’s daughter would come, too. They’d color, talk about life, you know, typical two-year old stuff. Eventually my wife would show up and take her home. I would get yelled at because my kid had 23 different colors on her legs.
Good parent: “You were watching, right?”
Ambivalent parent: “Watching? Watching what? Oh, yeah, I told her to stop.”
That was just the fall. We didn’t do too much in the winter because the games started too late, but the spring, it was more strollers and backpacks and snacks and baseball and track.
Oh, we love track. At the age of two, she wanted nothing more than to be the best long jumper in the world, not a realistic goal when you’re in the 15th percentile in height. When we would come home, she would run in the grass as fast as she could and leap, landing a record-breaking 2 feet, 3 inches away.
She and Danville track coach Jeff Brandt were practically on a first-name basis. If I showed up without her, I would get questioned.
This routine went on for a couple of years until I got my current gig. It was in another town, really put a crimp into our style, but it paid the bills.
So we had to find other interests. If there is a bigger five-year old — sorry, five-and-a-half-year-old — Bucknell basketball fan in the world, I have yet to meet them. She’s got a foam finger, a floating rubber ducky that looks like a basketball and says “Bucknell” on the front of it, a Bucknell T-shirt that almost fits me.
She begs and begs and begs to go to each game. She goes a couple of times a year, which is enough. She got to see Richmond two years ago and now, every time we make the drive on 15 to Lewisburg, she asks if we’re going to see the “Richmond Spiders.”
Every. Single. Time.
I don’t think it’s the basketball though. Just ask her why she likes Bucknell hoops and if the first word out of her mouth isn’t “popcorn” it’s probably “nachos.”
But hey, it’s father-daughter time, which is about to get cut in a big-time way. She’s starting to get “girl” interests, which don’t necessarily translate into “daddy” interests. I went to close her blinds the other day and stepped on four Barbies on the way to the window, which makes me wonder if my four-month old son will ever know about G.I. Joe or He-Man, or will they end up clad in pink, too? I sit down to watch the Phillies for five minutes and it’s “Dad, can you put on Strawberry Shortcake for me?”
I do, because I love her. And five minutes from now, she’ll be heading off to college.

http://dailyitem.com/0200_sports/x141817558/Bill-Bowman-On-sports-Losing-my-wing-girl

8 responses »

  1. Bill, your blog posts are so heart-warming! I don’t have kids and my friends are just starting to have kids. I’m still in the phase of, “can I hold it? How do I do it so I dont break it?” “It” being the baby. My boyfriend has likened me holding an infant to holding a football that is on fire. And I’m 32, not 12.

    Anyway, I love reading your stories and hearing the hilarious things your kids say. I like your use of video and photos. I also like that you have a variety of links on your sidebar too. I’ve been trying to add links to my page and can’t get them to work right.

    Good luck with your endeavors. You should keep this page up and keep with the stories. They crack me up, and make me a little weepy at the same time.

    Kathleen

    • Your blog has really evolved and I love the color scheme that you’ve chosen. I wish I could relate to people with children, but, I never had any. If I had, I would definitely like a blog like this. It’s great! You should be proud! Awesome job!

  2. Oh, how I remember when my youngest and last child moved away from home. And oh, how I remember when my middle son was the first of my children to get married. And oh yes, I remember when my only daughter had my first grandchild. I’m still rocking and reeling from them all. I feel you – losing your wing girl. Just keep loving and enjoying each day, as you do; so when she’s a woman she’ll flutter by ever-so-often just to say “Dad, I love you.”

    I think your blog is very well written. It tugs at its readers’ emotional strings. I don’t know what your plans are for it, but I for one, think you should continue writing it after class ends.

    Did you by chance see the yahoo ad where the guy took a picture of his son everyday of his life, from birth to age 21? To keep up your blog, maybe not everyday, would be just as nice of a tribute to your daughter as the pictures were to that guy’s son?.

    Reading your passionate words brings me joy. I can only imagine what they would do for your daughter when she is 12/18/25 and going through one of the many, many headaches she as a human being will no doubt go through. You have a son too, right? He’ll need to read your words as well, when he’s older. If you decide to continue your blog, it would be nice to do one (separately) for your son.

    I like the colors of your blog but if you decide to continue it and write about your daughter on this one, I think more girly colors and design would be nicer. Otherwise, I have no cons to offer.

    I’ve enjoyed taking this class with you. I wish you well.

    Cherris :)

    • Thanks for the kind words. I did see that video with the dad and his son, cool idea. I like reading how the dad would sometimes track him down at a friend’s house just so he could get a picture with him.
      I will certainly continue this for the time being. I am writing less and less at work, so this gives me a chance to do that.
      Bill.

  3. HI bill, truth to be told I am sincerely moved with your post… It brought back all the memories I shared with my dad for 10 years.. since he fell sick when I was 10 and passed away when I was 13, it was more of like I kind of lost my wing man.. :) Reading this post brought me to tears of reminding me the time I spent with my dad, and your emotions would have been the exact same as my dads… As I am growing up now I do wonder on chances of me knowing how happy my dad is for me, as I am an “ideal” daughter as what my dad would say, but I never got to see him.. was reading this post and the earlier post and felt ur words close to heart as in if my dad was saying, it would be his true emotions :) very cute daughter by the way and nice posts

  4. Bill, I love your posts! They are so fun to read, and your style is truly unique. I don’t have kids yet, only being 23, and I was the youngest in my entire family growing up, so I never actually experienced a younger sibling or cousin growing up, but I can only imagine when this day comes for me, it will be bittersweet and oh so heart-wrenching. I promised my mom I’d stay five…18 years ago. ;)

    I’m the daddy’s girl of my family (as much as my sister likes to think she is haha). What’s unique about my relationship with my dad is that he and I have gotten closer as I have gotten older. He didn’t express as much concern about me going out when I was in high school, but while I lived at home and was going to college, that was a different story. Not having very many street smarts, my dad has been quite protective of me. I think it upsets me more if my dad doesn’t like I guy I bring home as opposed to my mom because…well, it’s Mom, and Mom always freaks out, but Dad is cool and collected, and NEVER freaks out. haha

    I look forward to reading more of your posts and wish you the best in your adventures! :)

  5. Your blogs actually make me wonder whether I should have adopted… couldn’t conceive naturally. I love the relationship you have with your daughter. Boys and Dads may have more in common, but a Daddy is a sacred thing to a little girl. I know because I lost mine to cancer at age 19. She will NEVER forget those games and moments that she spends with you.She will also choose her future mate based on her memories of you, watch out!!! I watched an Obama interniew on the Late Show recently and Letterman asked him about his feelings toward how grown up his little girls are looking these day. He replied, “They are surrounded by men with guns, for now. So, at the moment I sleep ok.”

  6. This really shines a light on a father-daughter relationship that sounds very typical. It seems that your prior career really let you build it while doing something you loved. The part that you talk about changing the channel from your’s to your daughter’s program made me laugh as I have “Handy Manny” on in the background as I do my school work. My son is very interested in construction… which is what I am currently trying to get out of and start a career. His interest in it makes me a cool Dad to him and almost makes me want to stay in the field to get his approval. I really appreciate you sharing your relationship with your children it really makes me want to spend some quality time with mine.

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