When I was sitting in Chick-Fil-A with a girlfriend and her little boy, along with my two little princesses, it became painfully obvious to me that they had been spending way too much time with their Daddy (or too little time with Mommy) when Abigail let one rip on the plastic booth below us. As it reverberated through the crowded restaurant (and a quick glance around told me I wasn’t the only one that heard it), she stared up at me with her big brown eyes and proudly said, ” Mommy, did you hear that one!?” “I sure did!” I said, but felt like saying, “now Mommy’s going to crawl under the booth in the fetal position and cry from embarrassment.” I laughed it off though; after all, it is hard not to when everyone else is laughing with you, right? She looked at me as if she was still waiting for a high-five or a fist bump. I don’t consider this type of action ‘pound-worthy.’ In my house, I give pounds to little girls who do a good job of cleaning their room or being sweet to their sister. Not blowing up the booth in Chick-Fil-A.
Both of us have made the mistake of saying a curse word in front of the girls, so I’m not going to put that one on Daddy. I know when I overheard her say that her room was a damn mess, really either one of us could have let that one slip. What astonishes me is her astounding ability to use that word in context when she still does not understand the difference between tomorrow and tonight. Still, that type of slip is pretty easy to nip in the bud. On the other hand, when she lets one rip in Sunday school and high-fives the twin boys in her class, I’m sure the teacher is wondering to herself, mouth still hanging open, what type of redneck household this seemingly angelic little girl was being raised in?
I can see the Dad-isms popping up more frequently. When any sport is shown on TV (except golf), my girls shout in unison either FOOTBALL! or GO VOLS! I must admit, that pretty much makes me swell with pride, especially when our friend (who happens to be a fan of a rival SEC team) stops by and the girls instinctively say BOO GATORS! They probably don’t know that golf is a sport yet, but I’m not sure I do either.
It didn’t really sink in how inundated they were with all these Dad-isms until we went home for the 4th of July. We were visiting their grandparents and Grandma took the girls outside to play. Abigail shouts, “Wait a minute! Let me get the football!” as she darts off to the open trunk and grabs the ol’ pigskin. She runs over to Grandma and hands her the ball. Grandma hesitates only slightly. She is strong, but not in her most athletic years, and I can see her wonder what is coming next and whether or not this is a good idea. Abigail then begins to instruct Grandma to hike the ball to her as she stands, ready to receive the ball behind Grandma. I had no idea she knew this much about football. I’m sure my mouth was agape when my husband’s mother turns to me and says, “I think I know now who has been playing outside with the girls!” “Indeed,” I say. Indeed.
I’ll tell you what, though, except for the farting and swearing (and the occasional conversation about poop), I am going to embrace this. Not only that, but I will encourage it. Not because I am a tomboy myself, but because it gave me confidence, comfort, a sense of safety, and some advantages, as well as other things throughout my life, to know how to change a tire, jump-start a car, clutch-start a truck, recognize calls on a football field, and use a power drill. These are some of the useful things I knew that some other girls did not. Some of these things saved my ass in a bind; some of them actually saved my life. Some of them just got me a cool point or two when I needed them. Farting in public never really did me any good, though.
When I put my little Mer-Bear down to sleep at night, I hold her up to my face and she leans towards me and presses her sweet smelling cheek to mine, I know she is my little angel and that we are getting enough time together. I want her and Abigail to get the best of both of us, and I am glad they will know how to hike a ball and how to change the oil in a car as a result of spending time with their Daddy.
Title image credit: B S K. Article images by author.