Fathering Girls -- Happy Birthday, Moriah and Susannah

Today my older twin girls turn 14.  They came into the world a little early and after a rough month or so with pre-term labor issues.  I was down in Kenai, Alaska.  Julie was up in Anchorage to be near the hospital there.  It was a long month during which I tried to pastor the United Methodist Church of the New Covenant a few days a week and then travel with our two year-old son up to Anchorage to be with my expectant wife.   One of those Sundays I had a weary, beaten look to my face and one of our members cam up to me after worship and asked, "You're not OK, are you?"  And I responded, "No, I'm not OK."

So it was a great relief that, as the due date got closer, we could bring "mom" back down to Kenai where we were just about 20 minutes from the Soldotna hospital.

The whole "twin" birth thing was an experience at the time.  Since we've now had a second set of twins it seems like old hat.  But it was pretty intimidating at the time.

And on September 29th, 1997 Moriah Grace and Susannah McIntyre were born.  It's been a wild 14 years.

I don't think I'm a particularly "manly man."  I've never been one to shy away from buying feminine hygiene products at the supermarket or searching from store to store for the proper shampoo and conditioner.  I'm pretty approachable when it comes to issues of "liking boys" or dealing with teenage girl meanness that can come through relationships at school.  There are few issues that are "just for mom."  After all, I'm their father and not some random guy in their life.  I want to be involved.

Fathering these girls has been a blessing and a challenge...sometimes at the same time.  From the pretty dresses for Sundays to the baseball uniforms.  From their eagerness to spend time with their dad to their eye-rolling at the suggestion of a bike ride together.  From their desires to follow along with the crowd and fit in to the ways they march to the beat of their own drums.  From the fact that they've always had someone around to play with to the fact that this playmate of theirs also became someone to fight with.  From room sharing and clothes sharing and friend sharing and homework sharing to the their sense of ownership over the items that uniquely belong to them.  From their learning how to walk to their learning how to ride a bike to their, soon, learning how to drive.

Through it all, I've tried to be the best dad I've known how.  And, yes, sometimes I've recognized that there were some "girl" issues that were really best for mom to deal with.  And, yes, I have said some things that have been completely unhelpful and it must have been amusing to watch me flounder under the pressure of being a parent at times.  But, I have loved these 14 years with my two older girls.  I hope I've been a cool, fun father for them.

I'm thankful that we have a son.  As a guy there's something about having a son.

But Moriah and Susannah have shown me that I can be a father to girls as well...even twin girls.

That's a good thing since, in just 10 years we'll have another set of 14 year-old girls in the house.