Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness. You can find him on the blog (most) Sundays. Enjoy 🙂
How I Want to Connect with my Daughter More in 2019
The thing with kids is that you turn around to make a coffee and by the time you turn back, they’ve grown up a ton. I now understand why this was worthy of comment when visiting distant grandparents. What to me had been a short time, to them had resulted in a brand new person turning up on their doorstep. So I’m conscious that my time with my kids is limited. Yes, we’ve pushed the deadline back with Bo, our youngest, but already I see people holding newborns and think how different Bo is only 7 months older.
So I want to think about the time I spend with my kids and make sure it counts. I’m in a reflective mood partially because another year has turned and partially because I’m in the second week of an overseas trip. I know a two week trip is nothing to some parents, soldiers, for example must endure far more time away from the family, but to me it’s a long time. So I’ve been thinking, how am I going to make 2019 count? What am I going to do to make my kids reminisce in years to come about 2019 and the fun we had. The more thought I put into it, the more the answer became clear, in 2019 I need to get to know my daughter.
My son has been easy, he’s a boy and I understand boys. Our time together is spent doing boy things like running obstacle races, jumping in the mud, riding bikes on mountain bike trails, playing guitar together, doing lego and, latterly, playing on the Xbox together. It’s simple, I think I stuff I wanted to do as a kid, I work out if I’m going to get shouted at for doing it, and if not Logan and I go do it and have fun.
Aria is not a boy. She’s not anything like a boy. We’ve done some stuff together but thinking back it’s always included Logan and it’s always been the sort of stuff that Logan and I do anyway (like running and obstacle races). So I need to understand what Aria likes doing. She’s not a tomboy so I can’t just wheel out my fun boy stuff list and see what sticks, I have to actually spend some time getting to know her. I know she likes princess dresses, but then she also likes Ninjago, so maybe I’m not completely lost at sea here.
What I do need to do is to actually spend some time with her rather than just phoning it in. I do know that she likes puzzles and card games, so there’s a start. I can find hours on a weekend to do Lego so I can find some time to play Dobble (which is a kids card game she beats me at) every now and again. Most of all, I don’t want to find that 10 years have passed and that I’ve lost the ability to relate to my daughter. Things are simple when kids are little, they think you’re great because you’re their dad. As time goes on and your humanity becomes evident, there needs to be something more to the relationship other than just a familial tie. When the time comes I want my daughter to be able to confide in me if she needs to and the foundations for that relationship need to be built here.
So the goal in 2019 is to find out what Aria likes to do and to do that with her. Thankfully she does like her guitar (a beautiful bright pink Jackson Dinky) so there’s some common ground already, she also has some pretty fine taste in music. I have to be honest though, I have no idea how this is going to work but then that’s parenthood really, being utterly clueless while creating the impression that things are part of a master plan.