The house I grew up in was a man house, three boys and a father, with one solitary mother left on her lonesome to care for her four men. My childhood years were filled with baseball, playing in the dirt, riding bikes, fighting with my brother Mark, mowing lawns, delivering newspapers, farts and burps, walking around the house in my BVDs. Mom cooked and cleaned for us, kept us in good clothes, taught us to care for ourselves and gave us chores to do, disciplined us, defended us when we needed it, showed us where we were wrong when we were wrong. Mom is a tough woman, still is, and the female influence in my life was a good one up to adulthood because of her.
But she was my mother and a boy can only learn so much about women from his mother. I had a lot to learn about women as I entered my teen years. Girls frightened me simply because I knew absolutely nothing about the way a girl thinks.
I know. I know, I know. I just described pretty much every male.
I want to say I envied my friends who had sisters, but that is not really true. Growing up with brothers was pretty cool and we never had to do girl things. Then I got married, to a girl of all things, a girl with six sisters and no brothers, and I found myself wishing I had a clue. I didn’t. Still don’t.
God laughed when my daughter was born, my first born, I am sure.
That is part of the fun of it all, pain and all, the pleasure coming from experiencing and being privy to a girl’s world. Life with girls in my personal world teaches me something new every day. Being married has taught me a lot about patience, showed me my own lack of patience. Having a daughter as a first born gives me new reasons to smile simply by being privy to her world, seeing her transition from each phase. Joy comes to me from watching her.
I drove Alyssa and Miriam to the First Midwest Amphitheater in Tinley Park last Saturday evening. They bought tickets over a year ago to see One Direction, a boy band. I had to listen to One Thing and You Don’t Know You Are Beautiful while we sat for over an hour in traffic waiting to get to the theater, a buzzing of teenage girls filling the air as SUVs and vans filled with overly hyped up girls converged in one place. Oh, I know which boys in the band are the best looking (Niall is the preference of both of the women in my life) and many cars and homemade signs proclaimed the allegiance to Harry or Niall, seemingly the two most desirable to the teenage female heart. I watched as girls bounced out of parked cars, pulling on tshirts also announcing their love. I am sure each girl there thought they might catch the eye of their prince on stage, prompting a proposal for marriage on the spot.
I couldn’t help but laugh. This was all new to me. I have never seen anything like it. Alyssa shrunk in the backseat of our car as I chair danced to the music on the stereo, the car load of girls in front of us joining in the dance.
“Dad, don’t you know they are making fun of you? You should be embarra… oh wait, I almost forgot who I am talking to.” And she chuckled as she joined in the chair dance, Miriam blushing in the front seat as our car and the car in front of us bounced from the dancing.
As I dropped my two girls off to join the gaggle swarming on the theater, I stopped and yelled a loud whoop out the window of our SUV, cackling as the excited girls whooped in turn. Mir and Alyssa whooped with them as they disappeared into the melee.
The place was up for grabs. Nary a single male did I see save for the men dropping of their daughters, though it seemed like most men had left that task to their wife, not risking the danger of the out of control feminine atmosphere. It was dangerous, a risk, a world really not meant for male.. um.. exposure (probably not the best word to use here).
It was pure fun, an experience I sure not had ever experienced with my brothers growing up. The closest I ever got to the same kind of experience was a Van Halen concert in high school.
My instructions were to return two hours later to pick them up. I arrived on time, a little early, and the parking lot attendants directed me to a waiting area at least a quarter mile from the arena. From the dark of the lot, the waiting parents could see into the arena, from a behind the stage perspective, the forms of the standing crowd enjoying the concert clearly visible. Swoons and screams reached out to us, the swell of singing girls filling the air mixed with frantic shouts and screeches. I sat on the hood of my car, a smile on my face as I sent my son up to wait for our girls at the gate, ready to guide them back to our car. I joined Nate for a while at the gate, soaking in the atmosphere outside the theater.
“Hey Dad, look at that.” Nate pointed to a chain link fence gauntlet that had been constructed leading from the back of the stage to the fenced in area where the band’s bus waited. Guards were stationed elbow to elbow along the outside of the chain link gauntlet. After the concert was over and my girls had joined us in the parking lot, the excited screams a loud clink of bodies against chain link fence as the girls fought to get a close up look at the objects of their affection.
And I would never have seen anything like this had I not had my own girls.
Don’t worry. Nate and I played eighteen holes of golf the next afternoon.