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<<My two oldest girls are a lot tougher. They are at that age where their world revolves around the telephone and friends. >>

Don't let them fool you.

While I was certainly a "daddy's girl" as a little child, he wasn't all that involved in my day to day care. I somehow knew, however, that if I were ever in danger, my dad would chew through 12 inches of steel to get to me. He may not have been overly involved, but he kept his eye on me to protect me.

I was one of those "very independent" teens. I spent my time on the phone and with my friends. I wasn't particularly close to my father, although I knew that he loved me. He was clumsy about telling me. He was awkward about giving advice. We didn't have those "heart to heart" talks that you see on TV or in movies. He was just... there. He worked a lot. He watched the news a lot. He occasionally got involved in discipline, but not all that often. I thought he didn't have much of an impact on my life.

All through my 20s, I was completely content to be single. I wasn't against marriage... it just wasn't a priority for me. I had a pretty exciting life - I moved to Europe when I was 25 and had all kinds of adventures.

Then my dad died.

Apart from the normal grief, I discovered a very odd thing. For the first time ever, I really struggled with the fact that I was single. I mean I REALLY struggled with it.

I did some deep soul searching and thinking as to why.... and one day realized... with my dad gone... there is no one on earth whose face lights up, simply because I walk into a room. My father's unswerving love and commitment to me, had been the bedrock of my self-esteem.

Once I realized that, I was able to make the necessary adjustments to my thinking... and I am again content to be single. But I will always be grateful for that foundation of "you're the best thing walking the face of the earth" that my dad gave me - without ever having said a word.

The high regard with which he held me, gave me the strength to stand on my own 2 feet... and to avoid some relationships that would probably have been damaging to me in the long run. I have discovered dozens of ways that he modeled values for me that have given me the ability to lead a good life.

It may not seem as though your older girls need you very much right now. But I assure you... you affect them. Don't ever think you don't.
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