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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



She made no bones about it as she looked me square in the face and informed me, “You’re annoying!” I looked at my oldest daughter a little incredulously and stated back, “Yes and I’m not sure this is a war you are going to win.” It is no surprise that she has this stubborn streak, especially knowing that she is a product of the family gene, and that I happened to once again overstep my fatherly bounds by calling and waking her out of a sound sleep at 10:30 on a Sunday morning.

I got to thinking about those words from her that cut me deeper than I wanted to admit on the drive home from taking the kids to lunch, where they suggested I do a column about them. So sweet children of mine, remember you asked for it. For the record, this goes double for you two younger ones.

Dear Eldest Daughter,

This morning you hurt me. The fact that I see you so little and yet complain only occasionally when you are busy going out with your friends when I want to spend time with you, makes it hard when you slap me in the face with hateful words like you uttered this morning.

As your father it is my job to annoy you. To question you about your grades, the people you hang out with, your boyfriend, the things you see and do at work. I’m not with you twenty four hours a day and because I work long hours to help pay for your ability to have so much free time to be involved in every imaginable thing under the sun, I feel that gives me the right to be interested in your life.

I will annoy you about the choices and decisions you make, because as much as your mother (who really should be thanked by you every day for not smothering you when you were young) and I allow you the space you have earned through gaining our trust, to hang out with your friends and spend six of seven nights of the week out, that does not mean we give up our rights as your parents. What you feel is invasive questioning and teasing is, from my view, trying to get you to open up and tell me about your life so I feel like a part of it and not just a footnote.

Soon, you will be off to college and as much as you and I are both excited about your new adventure, I’m scared to death that it is another in the many moments where I have to give you up and let you go that Dads with daughters have dealt with for thousands of years. You should expect that as you grow up and move out into the world, that I will take the time to call you, show up for visits and tell you that I love you in front of your friends more often than you probably will be comfortable with.

I annoy you because I am proud of you, because I love you and because I’m your biggest fan and I will never apologize to you or anyone else for any moment I take to touch base with my first born, even when you feel like I’m being annoying. It is my hope that you will continue to make good choices and know that I’ll always be here when you need to talk, or to share, or just need someone to make calm sense of some of life’s more crazy moments.

Someday you will completely understand that being woken up by a phone call is really a gift, that having someone take the time to sit and listen about your life and actually want to be a part of it is a treasure that not everyone gets, and that someday you’ll look back and wish you could turn back the clock and have those moments again.

Don’t worry about the hurt, it won’t last long, and know that I know that I’m probably not as annoying as you made me out to be, but know that I’ll never love you any less and whether you like it or not, you will always be my little girl. Love Dad.

See you next week, remember….we’re all in this together.