A Father’s New Day –
Jason, twelve, sat in between Dr. Janice and my wife, Hannah. Both women were rather emphatic in their body language showing they could be very protective of Jason. I had sat quietly as both had lectured me on the fact that Jason was a girl, her name was Karen, and that I needed to accept her. I don’t why, but they grew in anger the more they talked to me.
Finally, I had enough.
“Janice and Hannah, I appreciate what you have said and I have listened respectfully. But, I am going to ask you to leave the room now. I want to talk with my child alone please.” They balked but I was insistent. “I am going to ask you to leave. I assure you that no harm will happen. I want to talk without you two overpowering the child.” I then added sternly, “Please leave now!”
They looked at each other as if what I did next would insure their triumph, stood up, and left.
I sat back on the love seat after they left, drew a deep breath, and said, “Well, I need an apology!”
“For what?” came a weak reply.
“For lying to me.” I said gently, but firmly.
“I didn’t lie!” came a defensive response.
“Yes you did. When I told you to man up, you should have told me that you weren’t a boy, you were a girl.”
“Huh?” She looked at me like she had never known me. And, that should have been obvious, since it should have been easy to see that I never knew her.
“Look, I love you very much. You are accepted and loved unconditionally and always have been. But, I have taught you the same way my Dad taught me. He taught me to be above emotion and to work hard at everything I do. To do my best as a man and to ‘man up.’ And, now that I know you are my daughter, that makes everything I taught you seem wrong, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah, I guess so Daddy. I am sorry I lied to you about who I was.”
“That’s better. Good, now that is out of the way, I will pronounce your punishment. And ...” I smiled and went on to say, “I expect a hug and kiss from my daughter every time I see her come in and go out. Is that understood?”
“Yes, Sir!” came an exuberant response plus a hug and a kiss. She joined me on the love seat.
“Number two. You aren’t Karen. You will be named by me. I named you and I will name you again. Years ago, your late grandmother lost a sister by the name of Linda in an accident. She never got over it. Your mom and I agreed that if you were born a girl, you would have the name Linda.”
“I didn’t know that Daddy.”
“No, you wouldn’t, Linda. It never got brought up.”
“So, my name is Linda?” she answered.
“Yes, it is Linda, Linda.” She smiled that I was calling her by a girl name already.
“I like the name Linda. It is pretty. Can Karen be my middle name?” Linda asked.
“I don’t see why not. But that is your mother’s choice. You will honor her by asking. We flipped a coin years ago. Whomever won would get the first name and the loser would get the middle name. I won. I still have that honor, thank you very much.” I hugged Linda and kissed her on the head.
“Third, Linda. I have something else to say.”
“What Daddy?” Linda sat closer to me on the couch. I picked up her hand and held it.
“I am sorry if for any reason I didn’t make it easy for you to tell me the truth in any way. I am sorry for any pain I might have caused you. It was never my intention. I know how to raise a boy. I don’t know how to raise a daughter. I promise you I will do my best. So, I have to tell you straight, I am not very good at it.”
Linda smiled and blushed, “I think I am finding out that you are going to be very good at it, Daddy.” She leaned up against me and I put my arm around her.
“I love you, Linda!” I said. She began to cry and sob like a little girl. Just then, Hannah burst into the living room with the doctor following her showing an angry fist.
“If you have harmed one hair on Karen’s head, I swear Billy Bob, I will get you for it!” She stopped and saw my arm around Linda comforting her. Dr. Janice and Hannah looked at each other befuddled and then at me.
Linda spoke up and said meekly, “Mommy, my name is Linda, right? You knew about that didn’t you?”
Hannah thought for a moment as if she had been sucker punched, “Um, yes, I guess I forgot. We did talk about that years ago. I am sorry. We did decide on the name Linda if you were a girl.”
I quickly added, “You forgot a lot of things Hanny. Including my feelings it seems. But, we will get counseling for that, right? And from a proper and fair minded counselor too, right, Dr. Janice?” Both women were dumbfounded and couldn’t say much. They just nodded.
“Okay ladies. I have a lot to catch up on. You have been working behind my back for the last two weeks to confront me with introducing me to Linda. Now, it is my turn.”
“What does that mean?” Hannah asked, her voice was filled with a hint of anger.
“It means that I will take Linda shopping. It means I will buy her a dress, panties, shoes, and all sort of girly things. I expect to make a ton of mistakes. I will completely blow it. But, I will do it because I love her very much. And this is our time to bond as father and daughter.”
Hannah stammered out, “B-but, that is what mommy’s do!”
“Normally, yes. But you shut me out. And the only way I can get back in is for Linda to teach me what she knows before you teach her what you know. That way, Linda and I will start from the same place and I won’t be left behind.”
Dr. Janice’s face looked frustrated, but she said, “I think he is right Hannah, we judged him because he and his Dad are manly men. That wasn’t fair, was it?”
I was quick to respond. “No, it wasn’t. I lost my mom when I was three. My Dad raised me without any help. And he did a great job. But, he only had sons. So, it was easy for him. I haven’t been trained how to handle girls. Still, I am willing to learn. And I can’t learn, Hannah, if you shut me out. So, I am taking Linda to the mall now and we are going to make mistakes you will hate. But, when Linda and I come back, you will know I tried and what I am capable of learning and needing to learn.”
Over the years, Linda and I grew closer than Jason and I were. Our marriage grew stronger and more loving. I loved having a daughter. I helped her through thick and thin. I even paid for her transition like a good Daddy.
Our youngest, five year old Terrance, took some time to accept his sister, but, because I showed the way, it happened.
And, now, every year, on April 3rd, I celebrate with her Father’s New Day, the day my beautiful daughter, Linda, was born. I take her out to a cupcake place, put a candle in it, light it, and let her blow it out and make a wish.
And then she tells me her wish came true. She loves Daddy time. So do I.
However, all good things must come to an end. She introduced me to Stanley tonight. And now, I feel like I am going to lose her. But, they say you never really lose a daughter, you gain a son.
And I can tell already, Stanley will be a great son, husband, father, and a good man. Because the one thing I learned best from my awesome Dad is how to be a good man.
Copyright © 2017 by AuP reviner
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