I was supposed to be a boy. The doctor had told my mother to expect a small blob with male bits in early 1981, based on some wacky 80s unscientific guesstimation that apparently did not include an actual sonogram. Whoops!
My parents had everything ready for my arrival: blue clothes, blue blankets, a male name, and, I'm sure, as far as my father was concerned, dreams of basketball games and little league games and fishing trips or whatever it is that fathers typically do with their sons. But their second daughter was born instead, and two years later, their third, leaving my father as a sort of bizarro Mike Brady, with three very lovely girls.
I write about my dad a lot, mostly because my dad is hilarious, and is pretty much a real-life version of Clark Griswold (if Clark Griswold had a Star Wars obsession). We have bonded over music and we communicate primarily through jokes from movies, and my dad is one of the few people in the world who can consistently make me laugh.
My dad often got razzed about having three girls: what a nightmare, what drama, what stress! But my father seemed to shrug it off because, as he claims, he didn't really see the big deal. My sisters and I did everything my male cousins did: we were all on a million teams, played a billion sports (and captained a few varsity ones, thankyouverymuch), spent our summer days outdoors in the woods, etc. But we also liked dolls, we also liked playing house, we also liked building forts and throwing tea parties with very glamorous stuffed animals. My dad never looked at it as "oh, I have daughters, woe is me." "Or, oh, I have tomboys, so that makes it okay." My dad, I think, just looked at us as his kids, and he got a kick out of our adventures, regardless of what gender norms they embraced. Looking back, I see how important this was: my father never made us feel embarrassed to be girls, and he never made us feel like we shouldn't be "acting like boys." My dad just wanted us to be happy, to be ourselves.
So Happy Father's Day, dad. May the force be with you, and thanks for always being there for us.
Feel free to leave a note about your father, or the father-figure in your life, in the comments.