It is often said that the first man a girl falls in love with is her father. But it works both ways.
Having spent most of last week travelling with work, a three-day bank holiday weekend was most welcome. It gave me a chance to spend some extended time with all three of our children, taking in everything from swimming lessons to trips to Legoland and to London to see my parents.
While I’m unquestionably close to both Isaac and Toby, there’s a different and special relationship that exists between Kara and me. I wonder if I am the first man she has fallen in love with.
If so, am I setting a template for the kind of man she will fall in love with when she grows older? And what does she love about me?
By nature I’m a self-critical person, so I see the negatives first. I’m not as youthful (I’m 45) or energetic as I once was. I’ve always been quiet and serious. I lose my temper with the kids more often than I should. I have too close a relationship with both food and my mobile phone.
But what of the positives? What does this beautiful, lively, passionate girl see in her dad?
A quiet, serious man who loves nothing more than to make his daughter laugh and who doesn’t think twice about dancing in public with her.
A father who, for all the occasions when he does lose his temper with her, isn’t afraid to show his love and pride for her ten-fold.
A dad who believes in enjoying the good things in life and who captures her youth in words and pictures that express how much she means to him.
A good man. Not a perfect one, by any stretch of the imagination. As flawed as the next man, but a father who loves his daughter with a ferocity even he never expected.
I hope one day she finds someone she loves who shares my better characteristics and who loves her just as much as I do.
I said in my introduction that love cuts both ways. And if Kara is in some way in love with her father, then her father is undeniably in love with her. How could I not be? She’s fiery, independent and confident. She has a perpetual twinkle in her eye (sometimes it’s a look of mischief!) and a smile that lights up a room. But most of all, she will always be daddy’s little princess.
Hopefully I will always be the first man she fell in love with. And she will always be the last girl I fell in love with.