Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Protective Father

When I was thirteen or so I had an enormous crush on one of my brother's soccer teammates. His name was Patrick and he was a dreamboat. I would wear my coolest purple t-shirt with a glitter Tazmanian Devil on it and cheer for the boys as they came off the field. Inside, I was only cheering for him. Everyone knew about my crush. Even Patrick knew about my crush. I do not look back on this time without embarrassment.

When JP's team went on a trip to Portland for a tournament, I went with the family and stayed in a hotel room with my parents. Most of the boys shared rooms with each other and it was the subject of my constant obsession to wonder what they talked about all the time. On one car ride to a team dinner, I was invited to ride in JP's car with the boys (!) and even sat next to Patrick (!!) and our legs touched (!!!) but mine was shaking and we sang "Ghetto Cowboy" and I knew all the words and about fainted in pride.

One of the nights of that trip, I sleep walked. Let me tell you what I remember:

I was asleep. Then I heard a loud click sound that woke me up, but I was not in bed. I was in a strange and brightly lit hallway with tons of doors. I panicked for a second before remembering where I was. How long had I been walking? Which was my parents' room? What was the number on the door nearest me? I couldn't remember our hotel room number but I knocked anyway.

My dad answered the door. I don't remember the immediate reaction but I remember the lasting one: he was PISSED. He wanted to know exactly what I was doing out there. He wasn't falling for the old "sleep walking" bit and he wanted answers. It came out that he thought I had been visiting one of the boys' rooms, likely Patrick's. I did my best to convince him that I truly was just sleep walking, and that I was still a little unsettled from being woken in such a startling way.

I don't know if I've ever seen him in such a state. He was pacing. He was muttering. Cursing. How was he to find the truth!? Looking back, it's as if he was wondering if he had to go fight a teenage boy over my virtue!

Now, of course, this is a story of legend around the dinner table. One of the regulars that gets brought up every now and then. Dad still jokingly (or not-so-jokingly) states that he STILL thinks I was sneaking around to a boy's room. I still maintain that if I had been sneaking out to a boy's room, it would NOT have been without a bra, in an XXL tye-dye tee shirt with a sloppy bun and my retainer still in.

But I have to say this: I can't help but wonder what life would be like if all dads felt this way, would react this way. If every girl knew that her dad cared so much for her safety and character, that her dad would be SO ANGRY if she stepped out of line, but that even if she had, he'd be fair but also terrifying. If more dads were like that, I wonder how it would change the generations of girls being raised these days. For the better, is what I'm thinking.

I know there are dads like this still out there. I'm just glad I got one of them.

Happy Father's Day to a Dad who is just the right amount of protective.

1 comment:

  1. Ha Ha....this certainly brings back some good memories.....albeit different memories of the same saga!!! Although your old dad's memory is fading, my recollection of the events is a tad different than yours! I am pretty sure there was no knock on our door, since I had to get out of bed, get dressed,and trundle down the hall toward the boys' rooms to get you! And yes, I was certainly upset....but as much that, when I retrieved you from the hallway, the entire boys soccer team were all still up that late hosting a girls' softball team in their rooms!! So, two dilemnas for your dad: the soccer team violating curfew before a big game, and my wonderful little girl 'sleepwalking' rather miraculously toward the same room as Patrick?!

    The really good news is that now you have a wonderful little girl of your own! And, I will wager that you (and certainly Michael) will have these same protective feelings for the young lady who is the joy of your life!!

    Oh, and by the way, the pistol in the pirate photo wasn't really loaded like I told you guys!!!!

    I love you......Dad