Sunday, February 20, 2011

True Grit

On July 9, 2006, Anna Rose took over my world. We have spent a lot of time together the last four and a half years. And I wouldn't necessarily say that I have loved every minute of it, but I can say that I have loved her every minute of it.

She is sensitive and sweet and fun and funny and creative and smart and pretty and thoughtful and caring and obsessive compulsive and intense and emotional and cute and precise and dainty and into princesses and ponies and dolls and jewelry and tutus.

I had in mind that since I was going to spend a lot time with her that I could nurture her into something more gritty. I planned on a tomboy. I got a ballerina. And I've gotten over it. I'm getting over it. There is something that happens to a father when their daughter dresses up for the first time that makes never watching a football game with her all right.

But I think yesterday we might have had a breakthrough. Hope is not lost. It started with the soccer uniform. We signed A-Ro up for U5 soccer this spring. She put on that jersey and something happened. It was like a transformation. We got home and all she wanted to do was kick things. She did wear her draw string around her neck, but hey, in a way that was part of the coolness. She didn't care how she looked. We held off on her afternoon quiet time and played two halves a soccer in the back yard. She wore that jersey until bath time.

But I knew something changed when Anna Rose ran up to me later and told me with pride: "Daddy, I just skimmed both knees and I didn't cry!" It was unbelievable. She normally cries over the thought of mosquito bites. She said, pointing to her legs: "My one knee's green and my other knee's brown." I said, "That's awesome!" We high-fived and ran back to playing.

Later that night, I performed minor surgery on her hand. She had gotten two splinters on Wednesday and had been hiding the fact until I noticed last night. She had not wanted me to see them because she was afraid it would hurt when I pulled them out. Yesterday, she said, "Daddy, it's OK. We can leave them. They don't hurt very much any more." Poor girl.

I said, "Well, whether they hurt or not, I'm taking them out tomorrow." (Part of what I've learned about myself is that I struggle with watching my little girl cry. I've realized and fully admit, that my actions have been part of the girliness problem. By my behavior, I have aided and abetted my daughter's pretty princess of a personality.) I confess I prayed before I went to bed that those splinters might find their way out for themselves over night.

They didn't. So last night I put A-Ro on the counter and set to work. And to my utter astonishment, not only did Anna Rose not cry, she watched! She was proud of the hole in her hand that remained. And when the second one required some digging, she didn't squirm. It was a clear a change had taken place. My little beautiful little girl was tough. I have never been more proud.

Watch out world. Here comes A-Ro.

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