Many years ago in another life it seems, when I had much less to say, I was employed as a columnist. This was before blogging made everyone a columnist. As an editor, I always felt as if sharing my thoughts allowed for more of a connection with the community that I served. And I promised myself before we launched Mendham-Chester Patch that I would only write a column if I had something to say.
And today I do.
One of the things I have noticed in my travels through the community is the high level of interaction between parents and their children. On Main Street, sitting in eateries, watching a sporting event or even just sitting at a stop light in an intersection. The family unit in the Mendhams and the Chesters is highly engaged. And I think it is interesting because so many have lamented the loss of the family bond in our current society. So when faced with a little crisis of my own, I thought to myself, “Who better to advise me than these folks, who seem to have it down?”
You see, I am a relatively new father. I have an 11-month-old daughter named Natalie Rose who is without a doubt the reason I was put here on this Earth (delivering you wonderful community news is a close second). I adore the time I get to spend with her, I delight in the little things she does as she grows and develops likes and dislikes and her own little personality. There is only one small problem.
My daughter hates me.
Ok, I am overstating. But that is how it feels. For whatever reason, no matter what the circumstances, my child will not hug me. Hugs her mother. Hugs her grandmothers. Hugs her dolls. She even tries to hug the cats. Ask her to hug Daddy? She stiff arms my face, leans back and whines like I gave her cough syrup. It doesn’t matter the conditions. We laugh and joke and bond just find. Every morning we split a cup of honey nut cheerios and take turns feeding one another while we watch Phineas and Ferb. And even after a good chunk of quality time she still would rather hug her plush Mickey than her old man.
In fact, she’s actually pushed me out of the way to give a hug to my wife.
Now academically I know she doesn’t actually hate me. That won’t come until she is a teenager. But there is some small part of me that can’t help but be bummed out about it. So I’m curious. After seeing you guys out in the community with such terrific connections with your kids, am I doing something wrong? Is this something that will get better with time? Do you have any surefire bonding tips to pass along?
I know it isn’t the end of the world. But any advice you have would be greatly appreciated.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go hug Mickey.