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To my “girl dad”

| Monday, February 3, 2020

This past week, the entire world was shocked by the news of the passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi. Tributes from all over the world began pouring in, each one sincere and heartfelt in its own way. However, one testament to Kobe Bryant’s character stood out to me. Elle Duncan’s story of her encounter with Bryant was different because it didn’t focus on the basketball aspect of his life — it focused solely on his relationships with his daughters. He proudly declared to Duncan that he was a “girl dad.”

When I heard that, I immediately became emotional and realized, “Wait, I have a girl dad too.” I never really took the time to think how difficult and rewarding it must be to raise a family of all girls. But this tribute by Elle Duncan made me stop and think. 

All these years, I never realized the special care and concern it took my dad to raise three fiercely independent girls. My mom always tells me that my dad always insisted that I be dressed in denim overalls and baseball caps as a baby, just because he could not believe he had a daughter. But with each new female addition to the family, my dad grew more and more into a “girl dad.”

Between all of the car rides to volleyball tournaments (trying to beat the GPS’s estimated time), the college visits, my late night phone calls from school about organic chemistry, the drama, you name it — my dad has dealt with it. And he dealt with it while being the punchline of the majority of the jokes made in a houseful of girls.

I know for a fact that I would not be where I am today without the impact my “girl dad” made on me, and it’s time that I take a step back to appreciate all he has done for me, my mom and my two sisters. 

So, to the man who cried when I got on the bus for the first day of kindergarten, thank you. 

To the man who flew over the church parking lot curb on the way to the daddy-daughter dance because he was blasting AC/DC (popping two tires in the process), thank you. 

To the man who is determined to become TikTok famous for dancing with his daughters, thank you. 

All of these fun memories happened because you are a “girl dad” — a one of a kind, big softie with a heart of gold. 

I remember going to the grocery store with my family when we were little, and people always used to stop and ask if all three of us little girls were sisters. My mom would always reply proudly with a “Yes, these crazy girls are all mine,” while my dad would jokingly sigh as he said, “Yep… three weddings to pay for.” The other people would always laugh, but I know he will be crying like a baby at all three weddings — and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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