One of the unusual aspects of my life is that I'm home with my daughter more often than most fathers are able to be. This is an absolute blessing, but it isn't normal by any stretch...which makes my life a bit more surreal than in the past. This is compounded by the fact that my daughter is definitely my child in temperament, which generally manifests itself in two ways: she has a highly variable tolerance for cuteness, and she embraces randomness. This enriches and weirdens my life in many ways.
First, many people assume I'm a full time stay at home father. I would love this, but for whatever reason, my wife has yet to become the president of her university...so work, alas, is still my fate. But those who only know me casually can be astounded when they find out I in fact have a job. When me and my kid are out together, I know that filters the way people see me. I don't really care, to be honest...but it would be intellectually interesting to have more data on how that affects people's perceptions of yours truly.
I have noticed, however, that I have more cute females smile at me when I'm with my girl. It is important I never view this as an ego thing, however. They obviously smile at me because (1) my kid is indeed unbelievably cute, (2) it is a rarity seeing a father and daughter together in public...at least in the middle of a weekday, and (3) when I'm with my girl, I am clearly not a threat to any single female in the area.We went to our local coffee shop today. As expected, I got a large number of strangers (predominantly cute females) smiling at the two of us. I tried not to give it too much thought...I find this approach is better for my sanity.
When we left, I stopped at a gas station. After filling up my tank, I drove to the car wash behind the station. As it's March, it's finally time to wash a winter's worth of salt and road grime off my car. I explained the process to my daughter, who kept repeating, "I've never seen a car wash before." When the machine started, my daughter moved to saying "cool" and laughing. When we left, she told me she couldn't wait to see her Mommy and explain how car washes work.
There was no grand lesson from the day other than I enjoy my kid's company immensely...but I already knew that. Part of the fun is seeing the way she fits together experiences. There is no agenda, but even though she has a much narrower pool of experiences from which to compare and establish context, she still amazes me with some of the connections she makes. She moves from point to point in such interesting and wonderful ways, I feel myself a better person just for being with her.
Hey, maybe that's why the cute girls are smiling at me...