Building a Family with Three Daughters, Part 2

Somehow my wife and I managed to keep the three daughters alive through high school. I got along great with them until they reached late middle school to early high school. Then each one of them changed. They became argumentative, and I had no idea how to communicate with them anymore. Building a Family

No more picking them up, twirling them, and have them giggle for more. Or picking them up, holding them in my arms and dancing with them. I somehow became the bad guy, and they wouldn’t listen to anything I said. Now it was all about ducking barrages of angry words launched in my direction. I was lost. Building a Family

When they were in high school, I was desperate to find a way to relate to them. I had played basketball in high school and college, I loved the game, and I thought maybe I could share it with them as a way of bonding with these strange teenage creatures. My oldest daughter is a big, strong girl. She liked basketball, and I enjoyed working with her so much I agreed to coach her girls’ rec basketball team when she was a freshman. Building a Family

First game, I coached with the flu. In the first quarter, she got into a fight. In the second quarter, she got into a fight. After the end of the game, when the teams lined up to shake hands, she got into a fight. Turns out she was one tough young lady. We made it through the season with no major incidents, just a few more minor battles. At the end of the season, she came to me and said, “Dad, basketball is okay. But there’s too much fighting. I’ve decided I’m a swimmer. So, for the next three years my poor wife got up at five o’clock in the morning to take this daughter to swim practice before school. Building a Family

Then I moved to my middle daughter. Turns out she was a natural at basketball, very athletic, great jump shot. I put up a basketball goal over the garage, and we played horse and one-on-one all the time. We started to bond over the game, but she was also a very good soccer player. She made both the varsity basketball and soccer teams in high school. She did her time on the bench in basketball. When her senior year began and it was her turn to start on the varsity, she came to me and said, “Dad, sorry, but I don’t have time for both, and I’ve decided I’m a soccer player.” Her soccer team did well in the tournament that year, and I went to every game, but dad was sad. Building a Family

The youngest daughter had the sweetest jump shot you could imagine and a real feel for the game. We bonded over basketball and spent many hours playing horse and one-on-one in the driveway. Her sophomore year, she scored 14 points in the first half of her team’s tournament championship game. I was very excited and proud. The following summer she came to me and said, “Dad, basketball is okay. But it’s not leading anywhere. I don’t want to play in college or the WNBA. I want to focus of my grades and my education and play soccer.” I tried, but I couldn’t come up with an argument to refute that. So, it was daughters 3, basketball 0. I love them all, but daughters will always remain a mystery to me. Building a Family

Now all three daughters are all grown up and spread seemingly to the four corners of the world. I don’t see them very often, although we talk and text quite a bit. They are all very independent. My wife and I tried our best to raise them that way, because the world is not a particularly easy place. Once again, my crystal ball was busted. I didn’t realize that a very independent daughter would also argue with me about absolutely everything. But they’re making it on their own, tough, and successful, so I guess my wife and I did something right. Building a Family

Now that I’m an old man, it’s fun to look at pictures of them when they were little and remember all the good times. And when my wife and I remember all those good times, we also remember that we often didn’t see each other for weeks on end because we were running them in different directions to different functions (sports, dance, karate, etc.). Then we remember that we also both worked full time while raising them. And I no longer wonder how we got them raised safely to adulthood. It’s more like how did we survive, where did we find the energy? But thank God we did. Building a Family

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