Everyone thinks they have the prettiest daughter at home.
On the eve of his final visit to Old Trafford, it seems appropriate to borrow one of Arsène Wenger’s most famous quotes. In the days when Arsenal and Manchester United stood toe-to-toe as the two best sides in England, Wenger delivered this withering riposte to Alex Ferguson’s claim that United were the better team: “Everyone thinks they have the prettiest wife at home.”
The same is true of the way a father looks at his daughter. Or, at least, it is if my relationship with Kara is anything to go by.
I spend a lot of time looking at Kara. She still regularly sneaks into our bed at night. Most mornings I wake up to find her lying next to me, peaceful and content. Often I will just lie there and watch her sleeping.
Is she pretty? I think so. But then a father’s assessment of his daughter is never going to be 100% objective. I guess her upper lip is a bit too sticky-outy, her nose a little too large – both inherited from me. (Sorry, kiddo. At least you got your mum’s brains.)
As for inner beauty, well, the jury’s out. I adore the beaming smile that spreads to every inch of her face when she’s happy (which is often). I love her steely, won’t-take-no-for-an-answer determination. But I’m also not blind to some of the less desirable aspects of her personality. There are times when she can be a complete witch – I’m talking more Wicked Witch of the West than Sabrina the Teenage Witch here.
Notwithstanding all this, my love for her is unconditional. It’s not that I love her any more than the boys but it’s a different type of affection. And I’m not blind to her flaws but I’m perhaps more willing to disregard them than I am with the boys. Maybe that will change as she grows into the teenage diva she will inevitably become. But I suspect she will always be beautiful to me, both inside and out.
Kara may blossom into the perfect picture of pulchritude. (Now there’s a word that doesn’t get used often enough.) She may not. But she will always be the prettiest daughter to me – because she’s my daughter. And that’s all the reason I will ever need. Objectivity can go and take a hike.