When we were first deciding to adopt, Doc and I each went off to think the idea through. I was at a local farm market when I finally realized how I felt. I’d seen a dad with a young child in his basket, and the two were yakking away, obviously two peas in a pod. I hadn’t considered until that moment how much fun it would be to have a running buddy. So after all of my serious consideration, that was what sealed the deal for me. And that’s how it was with FD for a long time: daddy’s girl.
FD and I looked into each other’s eyes and told secrets, I could watch her think, and she offered, and we shared, long, tender hugs all the time. I found out later how deeply upset Doc was about being on the outside of our little club. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t notice. In our house — this is likely true in a lot of houses — Doc was the one who was the organizer, the Doer of Unfun Tasks, and here I was, getting all the sweet stuff. (It’s not that I didn’t change diapers, cook, or clean, but still.)
When FD turned 13, the tables abruptly turned. I understand this is all perfectly natural, but ow. Daddy’s girl is now mommy’s girl. The things FD cares about most are things Doc understands better than me. If either of us has a sixth sense now about what’s on FD’s mind, it’s Doc. And now I’m trained to wait for FD to offer hugs, lest she be repelled by my touch. We walk in silence together now. She still says, “I love you,” and I’m glad to hear it. If she didn’t say it, I wouldn’t know she still does.
I totally understand this is all the way it should be. I’m happy for Doc. And I get that this is my first taste of her growing up and moving on. It’s all good. But I miss my daddy’s girl.