3 reasons why MY DAUGHTER (#1) is a treasure.

(1)  “If” by prearrangement I left my cup of coffee on the top of my car, and across the street she and my three sons watched to see if I would forget and leave it there again as I drove off, and while I was loading things in the trunk she was quietly able to make bets with her brothers about what I would do, “declaring that my dad would never do that!” and at the last minute I, by prearrangement, once inside the car suddenly reached outside the window and reclaimed my cup, she would later, privately offer me one-half of her winnings.  Now things never actually happened like that–or I don’t think so.  But they could have.  She could do things.  She wasn’t known as an athlete, but as she began high school the two of us decided to train in karate, and later go out of town together to spar  and succeed in tournaments.  With little noise, she could choose direction, follow a course, and methodically move ahead.  I think of her often when I write about the heroines and antiheroes in my stories.

(2)  When she was 7 and at bedtime I finished reading aloud to her the last of the original 314 Grimms’ Fairy Tales (ghastly as some of those little-known stories were) we were able to secretly sneak out the backdoor in the dark and drive off to Friendly’s–without getting caught–for an ice-cream celebration.  A small chapter of our lives together had ended. A new, and different, one was to begin.  We both recognized that.

(3)  A “dozen” years ago she made and gave me the absolute best “detail-filled” birthday card I have ever received.  You can’t begin to conceive of what it said–and I’m not about to say here.  It’s between us, and I keep it near me in a special place hidden away wherever my wife and I live.

And of course there’s MORE, but that’s on the other side of the DOOR…

[MORE]

Now my 0.25 dozen sons have provided me by marriages with 3 more DAUGHTERS (and yes, 2 granddaughters).  And, I  couldn’t be more pleased with their choices–so far.  (My sons have pledged to put that favorite phrase of mine on my tombstone, “Here lies John Knapp II so far…)

Girls (as one book I misplaced declared) always live “under the gaze.”  They have more “bottles and tubes” than boys.  They have to work harder sooner to get by, and find a good fit in the world, and so they often become smarter sooner than boys.  And so often girls/women push themselves forward too fast.  As I used to say in my last lecture in each freshman comp class I taught at a secular university, “I’m going to tell you something you’re not going to hear in any other class.  It’s an observation from my years of teaching.  Far too many of you women sell yourselves short, especially to men.  (And yes, men you can make the same mistake with women, too.)  You’re worth too much to give away so much so soon. And you guys/men, far too many of you run away from messes you’ve made and left for others to clean up.”  Other things I said depended upon the class I taught.  Strangely, perhaps, no one ever complained–even of the implicit sexism.  Out of class, several privately thanked me for caring, and some of those chose to take the conversation further.

On another note: One of my sons has told me I have “firecracker heroines” in my stories.  That surprised me, but I suppose he’s right.

More about my beautiful daughter?  No, I’ve said enough.  Except for this.  She and her husband (yes, who finally proved himself) are arriving tomorrow for a visit and I can hardly wait.  There will be “Shuffleboard War,” among other things.

Science cannot, and perhaps never can, explain this love and respect I have for my daughter.  It’s on the other side of science’s priviledged wall.  And, of course, there’s plenty more love and respect for the rest of my family.