God has a sense of humor. I grew up with two brothers and no sisters, so naturally God made me the patriarch of a family full of females (wife, daughter, and two granddaughters). Before I became a father, I dreamed of having a son. I pictured myself teaching him how to throw a curveball, how to calculate a batting average, and how to use a fly rod. I figured we’d watch movies in which lots of things explode and there is minimal kissing. I assumed we’d shoot hoops on the driveway and argue about whether LeBron or Kobe was the best.
Instead, the fabric of my life is pink and frilly.
The playroom in our house contains not a single football or catcher’s mitt or cowboy hat or squirt gun. (We do have a ball and bat, but it’s made out of soft plastic and has the Disney princesses on it so I’m not sure it counts as real sports equipment.) Instead, we have doll babies galore, plastic high heels, plastic strollers, stuffed animals, Minnie Mouse everything, and, well, you get the idea.
This past weekend our mission was to buy our seven-year-old granddaughter, Alyssa, some shoes. We ended up in Rack Room, which is a store I like because it’s no nonsense. The shoes are all on display, there are no salespeople hounding you, and the prices are halfway decent. You can get in, get some shoes, and get out.
Unless you’re shopping with females.
Oh. My. Goodness.
Seven years old she’s already doing that thing women do.
At one point, just for a little comic relief, I picked up the ugliest pair of shoes on the entire wall. I can’t tell you how ugly these shoes were. Think orange with green, blue, and yellow sparkles on them. The designer was either some kind of genius or stone cold drunk. Anyway, I held them up and said, “How about these?” And, I kid you not, Alyssa said, “Ooooh, yes! I like ’em!” At this point, I’m convinced that the shoes she doesn’t like have yet to be made.
I’m also convinced she’ll never “get” baseball. During the World Series, I was sitting on the edge of my seat as the Cardinals were about to pull out a tight one. Little Miss Shoe Addict said, “Papa, why do you like baseball? All they do is run, hit, and throw.” I said, “Um, yeah. That’s why I like it.” I saw pity in her eyes as she shook her head and walked away.
I tell you all this so you’ll have some perspective on something my wife said to me 35 years ago when we first found out she was pregnant. I said, “What if we have a girl? I never had a sister. I won’t know what to do with a girl.” Marilyn said, “Don’t worry, she’ll tell you what to do…and you’ll love every second of it.”
And she was right.
This past week was Thanksgiving, and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my blessings. One of the things I’m most thankful for is my happy family full of girls, which, I hate to admit, I probably wouldn’t have had if it had been left up to me. But God knew what I needed better than I did. He knew I needed to be stretched and enlightened and taken care of. (Yes, that’s another great thing about being the only guy in an all-girl family. All that mothering instinct flows to me!)
I feel sorry for people who try to deny, or at least blur the differences between men and women. God made us male and female. I’m living proof that these differences are nothing to be afraid of, but rather something to enjoy. I, for one, wouldn’t have it any other way.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a tea party to attend just down the hall.