Fathers and daughters.

I have written a time or two about the fact that I did not have a father who was very involved in my life or my upbringing. His choice. Growing up, I didn’t really feel I was missing out on anything. I don’t recall any father-daughter activities at school that I felt excluded from, and I don’t much remember any occasion wishing I had a dad with me. Yes, I sometimes fantasized that he would walk me down the aisle to my Chuppah – but he had died by the time I got married the first time around. This was the only time I would ever think of him spending time with me.

I often wonder what it would have been like to have had a dad or a father figure involved in my day to day life. How would it have changed me as a person, as a mother, a sister, a friend? Would I still have married my first husband? Would I have married someone different? Would I relate to men in the same way I do now?

How has having a father or father figure in your life added to your character? What do you think were the emotional benefits to having a dad around?

Dads – how do you see your relationship with your daughter(s)? Do you notice if you have an emotional affect on her? Is it different than your relationship with your son(s)?

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  1. Jack says:

    All I can say is that this sums up many of my feelings.

    I love my my kids fiercely and can’t imagine life without a son, but I feel the same about a daughter. Females are all crazy, but that is ok. ;)

    My girl is something else and she has helped to make me a better father. Of course when she starts to date I may go to prison for shooting the boys that come to see her.

    • HSaboMilner says:

      i love all your posts about your kids – you are a daddy who is besotted with his kids. but tell me something – why am I, a mother of sons, perfectly ok with the idea that one day they will date and marry, but most fathers of daughters mention the shotgun when thinking of their little girls getting wed? why is there such a difference?

      • lady lock and load says:

        I think daddys are very protective about their daughters, I know mine was.

      • Jack says:

        I can’t speak for all men, but it comes from a variety of places. Some of it stems from having been raised with a million sisters it was drilled into me that part of my job was to look out for them.

        I know how a lot of men think about women. I have been a part of the discussions. One day some boy is going to look at my daughter and think about her in sexual terms. He may very well respect her, I truly hope that he does.

        But some of them aren’t going to. Some of those boys are going to have thoughts that are not so nice- I think in graphic terms so it is easy for me to visualize things. Just different.

        As the mother of boys you don’t worry about them coming home pregnant, just not going to happen.

        That is not to say that boys can’t get into trouble, but it is different.

        I know that I am kind of rambling here, but that is sort of some of it.

        • nunu says:

          What’s so bad about a daughter coming home pregnant? It is the beginning of a new life, a new generation!

          What is the difference between a boy impregnating a young woman (and having to face up to his responsibilities) and a girl carrying the child in her womb?

          Or do you think young men can just leave a woman pregnant and go on with their business without caring???

          PS: My parents always warned me against “coming home pregnant”, and yet this is what my mother did once and my father begot three children with three different unmarried women. Speak of hypocrisy…

          • Jack says:

            What’s so bad about a daughter coming home pregnant? It is the beginning of a new life, a new generation!

            I am typing slowly so that you may follow. If she is isn’t married or serious it is a serious problem.

            What is the difference between a boy impregnating a young woman (and having to face up to his responsibilities) and a girl carrying the child in her womb?

            The difference is that the boy can walk away with fewer scars and consequences. Not right, not fair but reality.

          • nunu says:

            Well, it all depends. I know a woman who brought her son up alone, with the help of her mother, the father of the child paying alimony, and she says that this child is “the best thing that ever happened to her in her life”…

            Why do you think it has to be a catastrophy?

            My aunt came home pregnat to her very catholic parents. They said “we brought up eight children, we might as well bring up a ninth one”

            It’s all a question of perspective. But you, Jack, seem to have serious issues with possessiveness. As opposed to many of your readers, I do not think that what you write on your blog about being jealous of your daughter kissing boys in kindergarten is funny.

          • Jack says:

            I know a woman who brought her son up alone, with the help of her mother, the father of the child paying alimony, and she says that this child is “the best thing that ever happened to her in her life”…

            You aren’t a parent, are you. That is not the optimal way to raise a child. Doesn’t mean that single parents cannot be good parents either. But no single parent is ever going to say that it is easier to be a single parent.

            My aunt came home pregnat to her very catholic parents. They said “we brought up eight children, we might as well bring up a ninth one”

            So in other words your aunt wasn’t capable of raising her child and thus her parents were forced to take care of another child. It is admirable that they did so, but it is yet another example of the problems/challenges faced by getting pregnant out of wedlock.

            It’s all a question of perspective.

            Yes I have perspective and you have none. There is not one reason for a young girl to get pregnant in the manner you describe.

            But you, Jack, seem to have serious issues with possessiveness.
            Not at all. I am a responsible adult who loves his children and looks out for their welfare.

            We are not discussing an adult who has life experience, maturity and the financial ability to support a child.

            We are talking about babies having babies. It is unnecessary.

            As opposed to many of your readers, I do not think that what you write on your blog about being jealous of your daughter kissing boys in kindergarten is funny.

            Sometimes it is noble to stand alone and be independent. History has many examples of people who stood up in this manner and exhibited great courage.

            There are also examples of the morons who stood up and showed the world that they were buffoons.

          • Rabbi's wife says:

            I think the bulk of the child care also falls on the girl, particularly without a live-in father. No matter how much the boy “mans up” it effects him a lot less, particularly during the pregnacy-toddler years.

  2. nunu says:

    I do not think that it is healthy when “fathers of daughters mention th e shotgun when thinking of their littler girls getting wed”.

    I have such a father, and in retrospective I would say that he was way too possessive and did not always keep the limits as he should have done.

    I think I could have brought whomever I want as a future son-in-law, none would have been accepted. So I brought nobody, but this was not accepted either.

    My father has a quite reckless ellbow-mentality and now I have to work quite hard on dropping it.

  3. kisarita says:

    It is a remnant of a patriarchal culture in which daughters sexuality belongs to the father, and his very masculinity depends on protecting it.
    The bedouins, which we once were, are still like that today.

  4. kisarita says:

    However, I find it interesting that you didn’t miss having a father. The popular perception is that a daughter is simply lost without a father.

  5. Jack says:

    Nunu- I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt ‘cuz I don’t think English is your native tongue.

    Only a fool pretends that trouble will never find them. I know how hard it is to be a parent. If you are not prepared it will beat you down and wreak havoc upon your life.

    Teenage girls are not meant to be mothers. In a different life when lifespans were vastly shorter it made sense. But it doesn’t now.

    And so I protect my daughter as do all responsible parents. Love requires hard choices and committment to a lifetime of care.

    G-d willing she will grow up having experienced an amazing childhood. And that means that she will have options, choices and opportunities that most teenage mothers don’t get.

    I am not possessive- I am responsible, smart and the father who will also work as a mohel.

    As a teenage boy we are willing to say almost anything to convince girls to give us what we are asking for.

    And when you have limited experience you are sometimes too stupid to recognize when someone is playing you.

    If that chafes your hide so be it. It is immaterial and inconsequential to me.

  6. kisarita says:

    Many of us nearing the end of our fertility are sitting here wishing we would have come home pregnant when we were too young and stupid to know better.

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