My daughter and I are about to launch a new podcast called “E and Me.” We are looking at an April, 2019 launch. I’ve been writing this blog for over ten years. One of my most common topics has been struggles, reflections, and thoughts about raising my daughters. Some of my earliest blogs were about her. Another topic I write about is my journey with fitness and weight loss. Through it all, my daughters have served as a huge motivation to be more healthy. My desire to live longer for them and to be better for them have served as motivation for me on the treadmill or on the weight bench. My oldest daughter is 12 now. When I started this blog she was not even 2. Below, I picked out some of my favorite entries about our relationship. These range from the fish funeral, about a frank conversation about death with a two-year-old, to Preacher’s Daughter, where I reflect on her dating, falling in love, and exploring herself.
In April we are going to launch a new project together. As evidence from Fish Funeral, she and I have had truthful conversations all her life. Most of my adult friends have kids younger than E, and they were talking about how hard it is going to be to talk about difficult things like sexualiy and death. One day E and I were talking about how great it is that we can share so openly and realized that our relationship might be fairly rare. As we chatted we realized that other kids and parents might be able to learn something from the way we talk to each other. From this conversation, E and Me was born. The E and Me Podcast is meant to help families begin truth-filled conversations. Our first season will be six episodes, Body Image, Relationships 1 (friends), Relationship 2 (boyfriends), the Future, Gender roles, and A Wrinkle in Time Book Review. You can follow our podcast on Facebook and Instagram. You can listen to the preview of episode one here. You can read more about our relationship in the blog posts below.
Preacher’s Daughter — “Our culture of consumption and commercialization will do enough to oppress her. I do not want to add to that with my misguided attempts at protection. I love my two daughters more than I can possibly express, and I am so afraid for them. I am afraid of how the world will treat their kindness. I am afraid for others may try to pervert their beauty. I am afraid of so much, but I cannot project my fear onto their lives. They deserve to live.”
For as long as I am able, and as long as you want me to — “I know that there will be a time when she may be physically small enough for me to carry her, but she will not want her Daddy to do such childish things any more. I seldom tell her to “grow up” in admonishment. I know that she will. There will be a time when I put out my arms, and count, “one, two, up,” and she won’t leap into my arms. There will never, however, be a time when I won’t be willing to try.”
I’m not babysitting, I’m her Dad — No. I’m not a babysitter. A babysitter is someone who occasionally watches a child, often for money. A babysitter has temporary hours, and goes home. I am her Daddy. I cut her umbilical cord and handed her to her mother. I never breast fed her, but I spent many long nights holding and feeding her. There were a few months when there was no one on earth that could put her to sleep faster than me. I changed diapers, wiped butts, and cleaned up puke. I was at the helm of The Great Poopy Disaster of 2011. The last time she had a stomach virus, the only place she wanted to sit was my lap. I had to change shirts twice. I once got a little bit of her poop in my mouth.
My own Tower of Babel — Every morning I wake my daughter up to get her ready for school, I build my own little tower. I crawl into bed with her and wrap her in my arms and want so badly to keep her from being scattered. Every time I whisper into her ear, “Honey, it’s time to get ready for school,” I break the tower down. It is one of the hardest things I do. Settlement and safety are not inherently bad things, but anything that works against God’s mission for the world must be worked through. It is so tempting to hold her and never let go. It would be so easy to keep her in my own Tower, but in trying to protect her, I would be hurting only her.
My first Father’s Day Present — My dreams for their futures are a luxury that most fathers in the world cannot afford. For most daughters of the world, safety, dignity, education, and health are unattainable dreams. So my gift to my daughters on this Father’s Day is to the daughters of the world. My gift this Father’s Day is a word of encouragement. It is a word of awareness. It is a call to action.
To my daughters on Valentine’s Day — I want to raise you as girls that love God, and I pray that someday you will find someone that loves you as much as I love your mother. It’s my job to teach you what that feels like.
Fish Funeral — Ellie knows a little about death. She has been to funerals. We have allowed her to see bodies laying in state. We talk to her about death. I’m not sure what she understands, but we haven’t hidden it from her. We feel that society does enough death-denying. We don’t have to participate in it too. Sometimes she asks questions or says things that give us pause. But we try to be consistent in telling her that eveything dies. Even Dorothy, even our dog, even Mommy and Daddy.
“Will I die?” she asks.