The book is full of great and valuable suggestions; the main takeaway points all have to do with strong and constant parental involvement, love, and action.
It reminded me that I am so grateful for Atticus, who is an excellent, loving, involved father and husband. And so, here are our
10 Not-So-Secret Things We've Done to Create Close Father-Daughter Relationships:
1. Daddy sometimes fed the babies (and changed countless diapers, tossed babies in the air countless times ... but, hey, back to the food):
I breastfed all of our girls, but there were times in those newborn days when I really needed a break in the middle of the night. He gave them bottles (either expressed milk or a bit of formula), cuddled, rocked them, and put them back to bed. Feeding a baby is a special kind of bonding, and I was so happy they got to experience that.
2. Daddy took care of the little girls when I went to help out at our parish one night a week:
Weekly, year-round parish commitments can be taxing, and they haven't always worked for us, but when my girls were little, a weekly commitment to an apostolate I loved was a fun and welcome respite for me as a stay-at-home mom. It gave me a little break, some brain work, a booster shot for my faith, and it kept Atticus involved and having fun, one-on-one, with our little girls.
3. Father-Daughter Outings:
Atticus has always been wonderful about taking the girls out on father-daughter dates, from the time the girls were very little. The dates continue to this day. Atticus is currently the main grocery shopper at our house, and he will often ask a daughter to join him for breakfast out and a shopping trip.
4. Father-Daughter Getaways:
When I really need a break, Atticus and the girls head out of town for a night, giving me the gift of a quiet house.
5. Dad's Read-alouds:
He always does one of our regular Advent read-alouds, and our traditional Christmas Eve reading, but he also sprinkles other reading with the girls throughout the year: Mark Twain, James Thurber, O. Henry, Shakespeare, To Kill a Mockingbird, bits of The Great Gatsby.
6. Nature Shows With Dad:
He's known for calling a daughter into the room and inviting her to join him for something like Raccoon Nation, as he did recently with Ramona while the older girls and I watched Once Upon a Time. (Later, Ramona said to me, "Mommy, I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to watch a show about raccoons, but Daddy really wanted to, so I wanted to. And I'm glad I did! It was really interesting!")
It's not always a nature show. A couple of years ago, he called Anne-with-an-e in to join him for one of her favorite topics (yes, seriously): pandemics. They were watching Influenza 1918 together when I pulled them away because we had to head to a violin and piano recital. (I was just reminded by Atticus and Anne, as I'm writing this, that on the way over, I accidentally mowed down a skunk ... I guess I was doing my part to bring nature back into the picture.)
7. Cooking With Dad:
They see him cook. They eat his cooking. They sometimes cook with him. He has taught them that men can cook. He taught them about baking bread. It's that bonding-over-food thing that I mentioned in #1.
8. Their First Red Rose From a Man When They Turn 10 Years Old. Eighteen Roses When They Turn 18:
This needs no explanation. It's just plain lovely.
9. Shopping With the Girls for Christmas, Easter, and My Birthday:
Atticus and the girls always conspire to provide me with plenty of chocolate. (It might be as late as December 23rd for the Christmas shopping, but I'm not complaining. Somehow, he always gets everything done.)
10. Family Time:
Whatever we want to do, wherever we want to go, he's game. His vocation as a father and husband is the top priority in his life, and he makes that very clear to us, through his words, his actions, and his incredibly sweet reminiscing about our girls from their baby days on.
The bottom line is that Atticus is an interested, involved, happy father who talks to his daughters, listens to them, hugs them, protects them, feeds them, makes them laugh, teaches them, shares his foundational beliefs and his faith with them, and lets them know that he always has their back. Always.
It's no secret that I'm thankful.
|From our '08 trip to Pennsylvania.|