The start of a new school year is hard enough with tweaks in daily family routines and checks written. But when you’re forced by nature to watch your youngest child grow up and make her way into a new day, it’s soul crushing.
When I met my wife, blending our family of three daughters I listened to a lot of advice from friends, family, and foes. I was bringing a then 4-year-old little girl into a situation that would contain a then 12-year-old girl, and a then 3-year-old girl. Everyone, including the internets told me that it would be the oldest one that would sail or sink the whole deal. Wrong. My oldest, in this blog known as Tay, was the easiest. We were friends. We got along so well, it shocked people. It was Tay that first asked her mom, after only three months of dating, “so, are ya’ll going to get married?” Tay’s now 16 and the relationship’s changed. She looks at me with the same disgust she used to reserve for mom. I’m her dad and she treats me that way.
The middle one, now about three weeks from turning 9 and known in these parts as Bug, was easy too. She loved my wife from the start but she’s a little bad ass. She doesn’t lovey dovey anyone. But like her older sister and father, she’s a people pleaser at heart. So, there wasn’t anything complicated with her. The youngest girl, known here as The Goose, was a different story.
Bobina was fresh off a divorce. Goose was still very attached to the other dad. She’s also a mama’s girl so her affections were almost exclusive to Bobina. I thought my winning personality (sarcasm) would win her over the way it did with her older sisters, but no. Goose, like any great diva, made me work.
Goose is amazing. She’s the most unique little girl I’ve ever met. She runs our house. She calls herself a Princess, because a Princess becomes a Queen. She can run in heels, has better fashion sense than a Milan runway, and doesn’t take no for an answer. We clashed for a while, and it was all my fault.
This morning I saw our father-daughter dynamic turn the corner. She’s not a morning person, In fact, she expects the morning to wait on her to be ready not the other way around. Goose also loves being 7-year-old. She’s exactly a month away from turning 8, but she stills call herself 7 and loves the perks that comes with being the baby. She hangs on mommy, takes kisses from whoever offers, expects her hair to be perfect, and for you to acknowledge her eminent power as a future Her Highness.
Yesterday, the first day of school, Bobina took the day off and got Goose ready. They were all over each other. All I had to do was follow behind them and carry the trains of their dresses, metaphorically. Bobina went to work early this morning and left me in charge. I woke Goose, made her some cereal, then she did the rest. Her hair was coiffed, her outfit was assembled, and her book bag had everything she desired. She allowed me to hold her hand until we got to the bustop, then let go when she saw people. As the big yellow taxi hit its hydraulic brakes, she looked up, grinned, and leaned in for an air kiss. I knew what to do. I may have curtsied afterwards. She let me in and we fell for each other all over, again. She really made me dad today. Of course, I got in a shot for myself. I intentionally knotted her shoelaces so she’d be forced to ask for my help. I think that’s why she insisted I tie them on her feet.
Today’s song plays in my head sometimes when Goose is holding court. This morning it took on new meaning. Here’s There She Goes by The La’s