Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Loving Layla

Greetings friends and family,

The record high temperatures make daily swims a requirement.  Today the twins waited until I arrived home from work so I could join them.  Both of them quickly regained their progress from last season.  After dinner we sat outside and celebrated their achievements with a Bomb Pop.  Layla and I were discussing which of the three flavors is the best!

I've been searching for a special song for a long, long time.  There are songs about daughters, but most of them deal with following her through life and milestones.  One great example of this is Darius Rucker's song:

This is yet another song I must take out of my playlist because it chokes me up every time I hear it.  Just like Butterfly Kisses and Clark Richard's, "Red Robin". 

None of these songs have what I am looking for.  I want a song that expresses how much I love Layla right now just the way she is.  Not one which looks forward to special occasions in the future and also not living in the past of shared experiences.  The song must show how beautiful and special and perfect she is right now.  I want to sing to her in the moment and show her unconditional love with no expectations of what I think her life will be like in the future.  She has plenty of time to worry about weddings and college.  Right now I want her just to enjoy being my beautiful princess and all that childhood is supposed to be.

Since my search for a relevant song yielded no results I've decided to write my own song especially for Layla.  I sing to her every nigh.  However, Amazing Grace and Jesus Loves Me don't convey the expression of love I'm trying to get across to her.  The tune is already bouncing around in my head, but the lyrics are harder to write than I imagined.  My expectations of the final product are really low and luckily Layla is my biggest fan and the only one I hope likes it. Here's a part of what I have so far:

I have always loved you and I always will
Doesn't matter what you did
I will always find you anywhere you go
Doesn't matter where you hid

You are my beautiful princess
Peacock eyelashes surround your eyes
Fire glows in them, there is no disguise

All of this emotion and thought is a result of looking through this blog site:  http://lifetoheryears.com/.  It provides "Dad's tips for adding life to a daughter's years".  I'm plagiarizing shamelessly and probably won't bother giving credit to who quoted what so please forgive me.

Anyway, here are two lists...  One showing what I do successfully now and one that is setting the bar even higher for myself.

Tips which I already live out daily: 

1. There is no such thing as the perfect dad, but if you’re present in her life, apologize when you screw up, and shower her with affection, you'll get pretty close.
2. Protect her childhood. It’s the only one she’s got.
3. There is a direct correlation between a girl’s self-esteem and the physical affection she receives from her father. In case you’re wondering, now would be a good time to drop everything you’re doing and go give your daughter a big hug and kiss.
4. Be patient with her. In doing so, you will teach her that she’s worth waiting for.
5. There’s no better perch for observing the world than the lap of her father.
6. Sing to her. Every day. Even when you don’t feel like it. Do it often enough and the sound of your voice will become a permanent source of steadiness in her life.
7. She needs to learn how to accept a compliment. Give her lots of practice.
8. Bring her a cup of cold water every night before bed. If you ever wonder what she thinks about this nightly routine of yours, try skipping a night.
9.Never turn down an offer to dance.
10. Of all the ways to bond with your daughter, cuddling in bed might be the easiest. It’s not always the early bird who gets the worm.
11. Children become readers on the laps of their parents.
12. When a daughter puts her arms over her father’s shoulder and says, ‘Daddy, I need to ask you something,’ he is a pat of butter in a hot frying pan.

And here is my personal list of "in progress" or "needs improvement" tips:
1. The greatest thing a father can do for his daughter is love her mother. 
2. Never be the first one to break a hug.
3. Girls are complicated. The instruction manual that comes with girls is 800 pages, with chapters 14, 19, 26 and 32 missing, and it’s badly translated, hard to figure out.
4. Include her in major family decisions. She should always have a voice even if she doesn’t have a vote.
5. A little girl can, at times, seem a lot like a cake that came out of the oven too soon. Beautiful on the outside… gooey and messy on the inside. Your job is to help her finish baking.
6. Pick one song and sing it to her every night at bedtime.
7. Being a great father is like shaving. No matter how good you shaved today, you have to do it again tomorrow.
8. Be careful not to dismiss misbehavior when she’s a toddler just because it seems cute. What’s cute at two is not always so cute at twelve, sixteen, or twenty-one.
9. If you want to be her friend in adulthood, you have to be her parent today. This rarely works in reverse.
10. She will climb as high as you let her. Never impose artificial limits.

Seems simple enough, right?  Many of these apply to raising boys and girls, but this post and the blog I linked is about daughters...  Although I can't wait to see her as she blooms into a young lady, I'm completely content with her just the way she is today.  4-years-old and wonderful.

See you soon!


Anonymous said...

Oh that every girl could have that kind of attention from her father! Just trying to measure up to part of those tips is a unique dad. You r doing so good so far. Love ya gobs

The Four Webbs said...

Thanks, Ma! Even though there is no owner's manual I like to learn before the wisdom is needed so I can make good choices when those opportunities present themselves. So much to learn... and now, so much to teach!