“You are always on my case!” she screams as she slams her door.
“You’re 15 years old and in my house you’re not allowed to sneak in and out of my house at night,” he fires back.
The door is flung open. She’s going to have the last word.
He beats her to the punch.
“You are just like your mother.” The air instantly is sucked out of the room and the proverbial pin could be heard dropping. Her parents divorced when she was five. The past decade went from non-stop quarreling, including a stint where at age 7 she was passing messages about changes in pick-up and drop-off times between her parents, to a gradual decline in recognition of each other’s existence to their daughter. This after several litigious court cases to modify one thing or another. If they even mention each other any more it’s rare and usually only something snarky or incredibly petty. Last week her Mom made sure to mention within ear shot of her how he waited until the last day of the month to pay the remaining $50 he owed on child support that month.
“You are just like your mother,” he continued. “We met when she was only a few years older than you are right now. You’re just as beautiful as she was when I first fell in love with her. You’re also every bit as smart and as confident as she was. The rest of the boys were scared to death to even talk to her. They would all stop talking and just stare at her when she walked into a room. I don’t think she paid for a meal out her junior year of high school. And certainly not her senior year when yours truly won her over.”
“I worry about you,” he continued. “You’re growing up too fast. If you want more privileges, let’s talk. But sneaking around scares me.”
She crawled up into his lap like she used to do so many years ago. She was still, even after all this time, Daddy’s little girl and always would be. But for the first time in her life she felt whole, not like she had to suppress parts of herself that might remind one parent of the other. She was, after all, just like her mother.
And just like her father.