I want to protect my daughter from the whole d*mn world.
Violet came into my life like a moonrock, like a falling star, like something fell out of the sky and landed on my heart. I can honestly say that I don't know who or what I'd have become if she had never been born. But chances are, if she hadn't come to me and her mama, I would have gone stark-raving mad out in my garage, toiling my life away trying to create the magic essence she sprinkles all over my daily path just by being alive.
(I'm not kidding. I was a year or two away from spending my days smooshing nails/clay/paint/racoon eyeballs/and deer blood together in some desperate attempt to concoct the perfect best friend for me before I died. So thank the Baby Buddha she arrived when she did.)
However, as much as I love Violet—and she loves me—the honeymoon period all dads go through in the beginning has subsided a bit, and I'm now left staring down the cold, steely barrel of reality when it comes to Ms. V. And that reality is this: my daughter is five going on six now. She's in kindergarten. She's 'growing up,' and I'm scared as hell.
Don't get me wrong. I'm pretty confident in my abilities as a divorced dad to raise her right—it's the rest of the world that I'm worried about!
So here it is, a list of the stuff that scares the bejesus out me as a daddy who really, really wants to make sure that nothing in this cruel, cruel world will ever hurt his little girl. And as a daddy who knows that it probably will anyway.
1. Sexting, dear god.
Don't even get me started. I don't know how the hell parents of teenagers today are even handling what's happening with kids in cyberspace. Listen, I want to be the dad with modern views who never embarrasses their kids with old guy luddite bullsh*t, but c'mon. Young people are growing up in a vastly different galaxy than I did back in the late 70s/early 80s when everyday danger meant one of three things: a muscle car crash, too much Burger King, dressing like the Miami Vice dorks.
But those days are gone, Ethel! And I don't care if I sound like some freakin' Walter Matthau character hollering about it either! I don't want my daughter chatting with strangers on the Internet, and I certainly don't want her accepting friend requests from adult freaks I don't know about. And I definitely don't want her sending or receiving or EVEN KNOWING ABOUT sexting and God knows what else people will do with technology over the next decade.
The way things are going, it's only a matter of time 'til a d*mn iPhone 12 gets some poor high school cheerleader pregnant, trust me.
Oh, the humanity.
2. Boys (aka 'trouble')
I'm a guy, and I have two sons who I love something fierce. Furthermore, I'm proud to be a man who respects women and is a relatively decent addition to society—give or take a few momentary lapses in personal judgement in Germany when I was in my mid-30s (message me for details!).
But the story of the world is the story of the world and there's a good chance that my little girl will eventually develop an interest in boys. It pains me to admit that roughly three-quarters of the male species occupying space on Earth are degenerates whose sole purpose in existing is to machine-gun spray sperm all over their school halls and laptop screens.
I know that may sound harsh, but I don't care. I'm harsh. I'm HARSH! And I'm protective. And I'll be d*mned if I don't know a thing or two about where most guys heads are at when that red hot testosterone starts bubbling up out of their boiler rooms around middle school. Look, I'm not saying YOUR sons aren't good enough for my daughter*, so don't get all defensive, OK?
What I AM saying is that I find it practically impossible to imagine that anything pure or honorable ever passes within 50 miles of the average 21st-century teen male brain. I know that's unfair of me, but I'm Violet's dad, so...tough sh*t.
When you check up on me in a few years and you notice on Instagram that it appears I've moved my kids and I to a Unabomber-style log cabin in the Idaho wilderness, you'll at least know why.
3. Adios, attention span.
One thing that totally sucks about living in this brilliantly designed kingdom of instantaneousness is that human minds are losing the ability to focus on anything for more than a few brief moments.
There are exceptions, of course — people like me who dig reading novels and try to hold down their end of a real-life conversation without checking their cellphones every ten seconds to see if the most interesting/sexy/rich/awesome person in the world has finally messaged us on Facebook. Yet, the amount of grown adults who simply can't pay attention or even ask questions about YOU and HOW YOU'RE DOING anymore is an interstellar tragedy, my friends.
If the zillions of people who came of age before technology seized our collective consciousness can't be bothered to read books on a regular basis or go twenty minutes without thumbing another freaking cyberfeed, then what chances do our kids have?
It frightens me to no end, mostly because I'm afraid my daughter will grow up in a world where it's totally acceptable to be a scatter-brained, self-centered, Google Glass-wearing peetard who read a literary classic once just to see what it was like.
4. Mean, mean girls.
There are many sweet and wonderful young women out there. But there are also 272 trillion tons of mean-a**, sassy-molassies being raised by parents whose main objective in this lifetime is making sure their kids think they're the freaking best and that they deserve the world on a fancy fake silver platter from Target (not Walmart!). And a lot of those kids are girls and some of 'em will be going to school with my daughter.
I understand that no dad, no matter how badass or keen or mindful he is, will ever be able to protect his own little girl from the cruelty of witches. I know there won't be much I can do when she comes home crying because some over-popular brain-dead windbag has taken a liking to hurting other girls' feelings. But I can at least be sad about it and I can be afraid that I won't say the right things when the time comes, can't I?
*Correction: I am saying that, actually.