Monday, January 18, 2010

THE AWESOMENESS OF MY OFFSPRING

Facebook response to my unsolicited request for blog ideas and topics:

"The awesomeness of your offspring."
(signed)Lauren Bird

Such a shameless self-promotor, but that's Daddy's (big) little girl.

Lauren got the short end of the notoriety stick in my 25 years on Montreal morning radio. She was 3 when her mother and I split up, and as a non-custodial parent, I wasn't privy to the everyday joys I get to experience with my three children with Danielle, whose misadventures CHOM listeners were exposed to ad nauseam for the past eight years. Not that Lauren and I didn't cultivate a relationship, but from a weekend and once-or-twice-during-the-week Dad in elementary school to even less time spent together in her early to mid-teens, there were substantial gaps relative to the custodial father-daughter connection.

Happily, our relationship has had a nice renaissance in the past three years or so, and if there was a turning point, I'd have to say it was the night of her birthday (16th or 17th, I forget which), when I clumsily told her how proud I am that she's smart, funny and "not a whore." Coming from a long line of emotionally-repressed New Brunswick Protestants, I have a difficult time with heartfelt sentiment, and applauding her for not working the Main was the best I could muster for my coming-of-age first born. There was magic to the moment, though: after an awkward beat pause, we both laughed our asses off, and there has since been an unspoken understanding between us that Dad loves and cherishes her dearly, even if he doesn't always know how to express it verbally. That she is cut from the same reticent cloth underscores the unspokenness of the understanding.

Today, Lauren is a first year fine arts student at Concordia with an exemplary academic record and a gift for visual aesthetics that she certainly didn't inherit from me. My artistic development hit a wall in Grade 3, never to progress beyond crude sketches of German stick men being blown out of tanks by RAF planes with wings on the top and bottom of the fuselage rather than on the sides(in my art world, it's nothing short of a miracle that the Allies won the war). She's also a rabid Canadiens fan - a passion she developed through no encouragement from me but which we now share, sometimes to the point of indiscretion, like the time Maxim Lapierre's name came up and she informed me that she would "tap that in a heartbeat."

There are some things better left unsaid in the father-daughter dynamic, and whom one would "tap" ranks second only to whom one has in fact tapped. That doesn't detract from her awesomeness; I just don't want to know.

13 comments:

  1. Coming from a rather physically and verbally emotionally reticent background...i actually get the mutual understanding of Lauren "not being a whore". I told Noah today again that although i loved him dearly i would not indebt myself for his post secondary education..to which he responded that "i'd rather seen him in debt half his life cause i'm a cold, cold parent" (with dimples and that sideways grin) I guess we are both safe...and Way to self-promote Lauren!! next you need just beg for the story of "the miracle of your birth" :D

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  2. Well, as long as YOU don't start stating that you would "tap" hockey players I guess it's allright...

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  3. *wipes tear*

    For the record, Mad Max has been bumped down my To Tap list due to his recent uninspired play. Although I suppose that applies to everyone lately.

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  4. This post strikes a cord in my heart Ted. My oldest daughter and I spent the last decade and a half growing up in separate homes and there are no words that can accurately describe the pride I feel with what she has accomplished.

    An honor student throughout high school and CEJEP, all the while dealing with completely dysfunctional separated parents.

    And I can not agree with you more on the need not to know even though we all know lol.

    And damn boy your birthday is tomorrow all the best my friend.

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  5. Hey Ted, I always was kind of curious as to why Lauren never got more mention from you. I'm glad for you that you both have found a way to reconnect. Being separated for 5 years or so, I can easily relate to your position as a father, especially with your daughter. Knowing in your heart that she loves you must be very gratifying. Enjoy every minute that you can!

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  6. I couldn't have put it better myself Ted. Since my by-pass back in 2007, I've been closer to both my children, Catherine, 21 and Michael, 17. Even though they are not always home ( with friends ,work, school or their significant other ) we talk a lot more than before about life, liberty and the pursuit off the opposite sex ( lol ).

    Cherish every moment with your daughter Lauren, Ted. They will be embedded in your heart forever.

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  7. Hi Ted,

    I am stepfather to three wonderful boys (21-20-18). I have always disagreed with the saying "Our children are our future". I believe that even if we have not been in our children's lives in the past there is nothing better than the now. Children are our present. Enjoy your daughter and forget about the past.

    Yvan

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  8. Hi Ted,

    It's me again. Here are some questions that warrant answers from you.

    1) If someone with split personality threatens to commit suicide is it considered a hostage situation?
    2) Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?
    3) If it's true that we are here to help others what are the others doing here?
    4) Instead of talking to your plants, if you yell at them would they still grow, only to be troubled and insecure?
    5)There are 24 hours in a day, and 24 beers in a case. Coincidence?
    6)Why do we sing "Take me out to the ball game", when we are already there?

    You continue to make me laugh with your blog. It's fresh and it's real. Thanks

    Yvan

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  9. My husband has enjoyed several similar awkward "emotional-repressed", father/daughter times and his favorite compliment is "Hey not too Skanky" which she takes in the very loving way that it is offered.

    Love hearing about your family. Reminds us that we are not the only disfunctional ones. lol

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  10. WoW! Very touching Ted! I'm sure Lauren thinks you are awesome too.

    As a young woman who's father-daughter relationship consisted of me picking him up from the floor, visiting him at the hospital or planning the next unsuccessful intervention; I can promise you that the relationship you guys have will become the most important tool when it comes to her choice of man, tough decisions in her life, and the solidification of her values.

    I applaud you for speaking the truth and admitting your fails. That's the greatest example to give your 4 children :) xo

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  11. "..not a whore"? Jaysusmaryandjoséphine, I may have peed. Thanks for that and the awesomeness of it all.

    Kathleen

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  12. Dear Ted,

    I went to High-School at LHA with Lauren, and was in many of her classes (we were both enriched students). All I would like to say is that she is a great person and is smart as hell. You have every reason to be proud of her. I still remember her public speaking speech, where she explained to the silent auditorium on how we should follow our dreams. She explained how even being a top student in all her math/science classes she would follow her heart and go into the Fine Arts. I applaud you Ted Bird, and I applaud your daughter. Thanks.

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