Sunday, 22 June 2014

Dads and dating daughters - Exhibit B - Grant and Amber

Dads and dating daughters - Exhibit B - Grant and Amber
22 June 2014

Having been the dating daughter of a doting dad, it is now very peculiar, enlightening and intriguing to have crossed over.  And to witness the whole ritual.  From the other side of the fence.  I am now but a bit player.  And though we are just on the cusp of having a dating daughter, it is interesting to watch my Grantie being thrust into the role of the heavy-menacing-father. 

I’ve been on the receiving end of this game, having been the daughter.  But now the tables have turned. 

Thus it is very funny for me to witness and play spectator to Grant’s acceptance of the fact that Amber is growing up.  That not only do certain boys like her, but she likes them back.  Each potential candidate is blessed with a horrendous nickname.  And teasing ensues.  Much to her horror.  Though I think it’s actually a gentle jousting game that Amber and Grant are playing.  Entering into verbal sparring.  And one I think that both of them begrudgingly enjoys.  It’s a rite of passage.  Expected behaviour from both parties.  And they’re playing their parts.  It’s as if it’s been scripted.

Last Sunday, Amber was invited out to the movies, with a whole bunch of school friends.  About fifteen of them, or so.  But she clearly was the special friend, and guest, of one boy in particular.  I was firmly instructed by Amber, that her “friend” would buy her snacks.  She’d buy her own movie ticket.  But he had said that he would take her for an ice-cream afterwards, get her popcorn and a cold drink (she bought them both some tokens for the games arcade).  So sweet.  At twelve and a half, I feel that this is fairly safe.  And lots of fun.  It’s not a one on one.  It’s a group outing so to speak.  Nothing really untoward about it.  Also, I’d rather her enjoy the friendship of boys.  While it’s still very much friendship based.  Sometimes, saying “no” to little things like this, just ends up pushing them towards it.  Making it more exciting because it’s not allowed. 

Anyway, lots of faffing about what to wear.  And clear directives given to me, days in advance, to simply drop her off at the entrance of the Mall.  As I was sure to embarrass her.  As if!  Firstly, I’d never just slow down to sixty and let my daughter out of the car at the entrance with no supervision.  In addition, I’d do my level best to contain all embarrassing tendencies.  Like swearing, flatulence, whistling, singing, whipping out her baby album, telling silly jokes, recalling humiliating anecdotes from when she was little, like the time when she was three and she….. etc.  And I told her this.  But I was willing to concede that I would take her.  As she was convinced that Grant would be even more embarrassing – doing his whole heavy-menacing-father-thing. 

Until I had an unanticipated disaster, needing me to cart both of my boys around somewhere urgently.  At exactly the same time Amber would have to be dropped off.  Which meant that the heavy-menacing-father, would have to drop her off.

Amber’s nerves were shattered.  But dressed for her “date”, hair all straightened, and butterflies packed firmly in her tummy, she left with her dad.  The very same heavy-menacing-father, I had pulled aside, and asked to please go gentle.  She wasn’t going to marry this boy.  There were just twelve.  Going to watch a movie.  With a whole bunch of friends.  He could ease up a bit.  And give the boy some slack.

I was so disappointed that I couldn’t take her.  And dearly wanted to be a fly on the wall.  But I packed my boys off in the car and we dashed away too.  And then, a few minutes later, I got a call from Grant.  And all he said in Afrikaans (which is really strange, because my Grantie is English and usually only converses in English) was, “Hy is sooo oulik!”.  Which means, “He is sooo cute!”.  Apparently “the boy” (who’s a full head shorter than Amber), walked over to Grant, looked him straight in the eye, shook his hand, spoke in a loud clear voice, and introduced himself.  I believe Grant was putty.  Amber later said, that “the boy” told her he’d practiced the whole handshake-eye-contact-introduction-thing in the mirror at home.  So sweet.

There will be lots more of this I suspect, as my beautiful daughter is growing more beautiful by the day.  She has an inner warmth, gentle kindness and glow that is magnificent.  It’s still going to be a long road for my Grantie.  I reckon I’ll be having lots of calming talks with him along the way.

Perhaps he should take a page from my uncle’s book.  When my cousin brings a new boy home, he simply gives him a number.  Says there’s no point learning their names – they won’t last long in any rate.  Not that she’s dated all that many boys in the past.  There’s only been two really serious ones.  Maybe the odd casual date along the way.  And to be fair, she and “Thirteen” lasted about two years.  We all just called him, “Dertien”.  Never by his real name.  But alas, their love never lasted.  And now she’s back together with “Twelve” again.

True story.

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Most beautiful girl in the world

All dolled up for the school sokkie this past weekend - gorgeous!

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely fabulous!!

    You tell it magnificently, Helene.
    Amber is wonderful, and it is such a special relationship with one's dad!

    Your Grantie comes to the party when the chips are down. We love him a LOT!

    PS I do hope that Amber and her #4 (#1 or #2 just won't go down) don't read the blog!!