I remember once my mother went away for a little while. I don't know where she went...vacation or something and we were left with Dad In Charge. My father's parenting has softened and changed considerably since childhood. Poor Dad. When I was really little, I thought three things. My Dad was really good at running, working and being Superman when I went to bed.
Dad could make pasta, barbecued chicken and salad. He also didn't want us eating junk food. So when mom left for the week, we three kids probably had the healthiest bowels on the block.
I remember one morning before school I went into Dad's room and asked him to put braids in my hair. That turned out to be a disappointing and painful experience, let me tell you. You would have thought my hair elastics were gum and my hair was taffy in his hands. He didn't know what he was doing and it only took two strokes of the hairbrush for me to know this was going to be a big mistake.
My Dad was good at throwing a football. Throwing a basketball. Driving a car. The man was clueless about hairclips. Or the fact that his little daughter's fine brown hair had to be held tightly or it would slip out of your hands while trying to put it up. My part was crooked. My hair was yanked, lumpy and the end result resembled bed head. Which is what I walked in with in the first place. When he was done I went back into my room and pulled it all out and cried. I cried because I felt bad for pulling it out. I cried because I wanted my mother, but mostly I cried because I didn't feel pretty. When I was little, I was obsessed with my hair and it meant everything to me to have a pretty hairstyle everyday for school. Braids, pigtails, ribbons, bows, you name it. Everyday was something different and I loved it.
But not while mom was gone. I did my own ponytails as best as my little fingers could do, but it wasn't the same as having my mother's expert hands making me feel polished before walking out the door.
If you're a dad out there, or you hope to be someday, I might recommend having your wife give you a few quick basics in the art of hair styling for little girls. Like how to brush her hair without making her cry would be good. Otherwise when she's 32, she might still be scarred. (This does work the other way too though, as it's important for a woman to know how to throw a football, because you just never know...)
P.S. Pop if you're reading this, which I know you never do, but now mom will show this to you...don't worry, I still love ya. ;)
This photo was taken a few years ago just before a race. Note the pigtails and ribbons. Somethings never change...