Ever heard the expression, “I told you so?” Daddy’s feeling a little smug around our house this summer. Let’s take a trip down our family’s memory lane to a few summers ago and discover why…
“Can you tell me again, Mom? What exactly again are we doing at this camp?” Our daughter’s question was filled with tense apprehension. We were just 2 miles from the camp turn off and I could tell she was having second thoughts. I reached for the cream colored brochure with a cheerful picture of a sun emblazoned on the front. Turning to the page of camp descriptions, I read allowed all of the details about what she would experience during her week at camp. Our younger daughter seemed satisfied with the description and relaxed in her seat.
“Do you need for me to read yours too?” I asked our older daughter.
“Please!” she requested with eager excitement. She had wanted to go to camp at Camp Shalom since she first heard about it, along with all the adventures her friends experienced there, when she was in the 4th grade. Now here we were, only a mile or so from the winding dirt road leading to the camp grounds and she was bubbling with excitement!
“Villager Camp,” I began, “For campers entering grades 7 to 9.”
As if by canine instinct, my husband’s ears were suddenly trained on every word I spoke. He couldn’t keep from interrupting me. Before I could finish the description, he was barking questions.
“Have you talked to her yet?” he asked.
“Talked to her about what?” I answered.
“Well, there are going to be boys at this camp! Boys who are in High School! Have you talked to her about this? Does she know what…” his voice trailed off in frustration. “Have you talked to her about this?” As he spoke in his panicked ‘Dad’ voice I could see he was even having a difficult time driving. The gentle curves of the country road were met with stiff handling behind the wheel of our mini van and I could tell I needed to say something soothing before all of us landed in a ditch!
“Honey,” I said to my daughter in a voice that attempted to both sooth my husband and not freak out my daughter, “You’re heading into Junior High now and at this camp the Junior High kids are in the same group as the first year High School kids. Some of those kids are going to have more independence and experience than you.” Clearly I wasn’t getting to the point quickly enough for my husband’s taste. We turned onto the narrow, forest lined, dirt road leading to the camp and looking at me and my husband implored me, “Get to the point, Mommy.”
I gently began again, “Sometimes when kids your age get alone without the supervision of their parents they try to take advantage of the situation.”
For Daddy, this clearly was not direct enough. We were taking the hills and curves of the little gravel road with a quickened pace. “Easy there Daddy, we’re not driving the ‘General Lee’.” I whispered just loud enough for him to hear me. He was not amused. The indent between his eyebrows grew deeper.
In the rear view mirror he looked back to our oldest daughter and began speaking in an urgent ‘Dad’ voice, “What Mommy is not saying is that there are going to be boys at this camp. High School boys, who have one thing on their mind!” and then he turned to look back at her as she shrunk back in her seat and in a full ‘Dad’ voice, he blurted out, “They are wolves and sharks, and you are what’s on the menu!”
We continued the rest of the drive down the gravel road with those pulverizing words grounding into our ears.
The dust began to settle both inside and outside our mini van as we slowed to a stop in our parking spot. I glanced back at our daughters, who sat with uncomfortable looking faces, and I couldn’t help but think how mortifying that experience must have been. Sensing I need to do some damage control before we got out of the car, I turned toward my blossoming daughters and their wilting faces. In that moment I wanted them to know I believed in their abilities to make good choices, and that I wanted them to have fun. I wanted them to leave me feeling confident and not crushed.
I stroked my husband’s hand, and looked at the faces of our stunned girls, “You know, Daddy is just feeling protective of you. I hope you aren’t upset that he made a big deal of there being boys at camp. I hope you can understand why he’d be kind of over the top about this kind of thing. This is all new to him too.”
Without a moment of hesitation our oldest looked at her Dad with her innocent blue eyes and said, “ It’s OK, Daddy. At least I know you care enough about me to say something about it.” With a disarming smile she said, “I know you love me.”
“They are wolves and sharks, and you are what’s on the menu,” 12 words that have lived on notoriously in our family lore. Thankfully they live on in giggles and teasing as well. I am grateful our girls know that their Daddy is looking out for them. And believe me, nothing gets by Daddy… Let’s fast-forward a few summers to 2010.
This summer we attended our nephew’s wedding in Maryland. It was a beautiful wedding, featuring the cutest Ring Bearer I have ever seen!
Here is a picture of my little man getting prepared for his close-up!
But I digress…
Through out the wedding and reception festivities my husband kept a keen eye trained on his beautiful teenage daughters. What protective Daddy would not? It was at the wedding rehearsal that Daddy’s keen eye trained in on one young man. Here he is pictured with my nephew (the handsome one on the right) and 2 other groomsmen.
**Que Villan Music** Dun! Dun! DUUUNN!
Your looking at the guy on the left:
Just in case you were looking at the other left, you were supposed to look at this guy:
He was a groomsman and long time school friend of my nephew, and I can honestly say I did not see him do anything inappropriate. He was perfectly gentlemanly and nice. And pretty cute in his tuxedo, don’t you think? Ok- enough commenting from the old lady here… But, he was the nemesis of my husband for the entire weekend. Why? Well, because he was male, and he was being nice to Daddy’s daughter.
Of course the wedding was beautiful and we are all thrilled with our nephew Daniel’s choice. His new wife is awesome! Welcome to the family Jillan! Here is a picture of the big moment! I love this picture of them! She is radiating JOY!
The wedding reception was beautiful and was complete with a sit down meal and dancing. I had a lot of fun clinking my glass to prompt watching kisses of the Bride and Groom and spent most of the other time wrangling a sugar fueled Ring Bearer out on the dance floor. When the slow dance songs came on I was just thankful my son decided it was time for a smoothie break at the table! It was all I could manage just keeping up with him!
However, my husband and his protective eye never rested. Apparently the eyes of a man with teenaged daughters never do! I was just settling in to my seat at our table when he swooped in to sit beside me. I wondered if he was going to ask me for a dance. No such luck!
“Do you see that?!” he said. I could tell he was having a hard time containing the volume of his voice.
“See what?” I asked. I honestly had no idea what he was referring to.
“That!” He said, pointing to our oldest daughter out on the dance floor.
There she was. Our girl was out on the dance floor, looking beautiful in her blue and green floral dress, the color a near perfect match to her eyes. Her cheeks were a rosy flush, probably from the heat of the room, but maybe it was also because she was enjoying her first slow dance with one very cute groomsman.
I sighed. It was so sweet, as her mom, to get to witness such an event. She is growing up, and making her own way, and they just looked so adorable out there on that dance floor. I knew nothing about this young man who was enjoying her delicate arms circling his neck, other than that he was a good enough friend of my nephew to be invited to stand up with him on his wedding day, but I was smitten by how cute my daughter was with him out on the dance floor. Besides, the pair lived 1,000 miles apart and she was well protected by her loyal Daddy. With him there ready to pounce, I had nothing to worry about.
My husband did not share my sentimental view of the moment. “What do we do?” he whispered. He was beside himself!
“Nothing.” I whispered back. My annoyed husband sat close to me at the table, sitting with crossed arms and looking forlorn and with out a doubt wishing desperately he could change the unfolding situation. The dance ended and our girl floated back to her seat. These are the moments that make for good old-fashioned crushes and it was pretty obvious our girl had one. My girl sat down next to me and began perusing the wedding program. She tried to look casual, but I knew she was most likely examining with a careful eye. Part way down the page her finger stopped and she could hardly contain her giggles. She leaned over to show me what she found.
“Don’t tell Daddy he’s right!” she said through her giggles and pointed to what the program read. I followed her finger to the list of groomsmen and there it was in black and white. It said his name was Grason. Grason Wolfe.
Daddy will not soon let her forget that he is always right.