My struggle is her struggle; my responsibility as a Father.
When I was in high school I dated a girl who was very loved by her dad, her car which was not just any car it was a Chevy Camaro convertible and it had a dash mat with embroidery that read, “Daddy’s girl”. I knew then I had to watch every step with her, her dad was a respectable business man in town and a very strict parent.
We did not date very long, maybe like a month. It was a mutual break up but turned into a lifelong friendship. My take away from this short relationship was the Father-Daughter relationship between my Ex and her dad. There was a mutual respect for each other, they talked to each other about their day, and he was very protective of her.
Believe me, back in the day when someone could jump on the other line in a different room of the house while you’re having a conversation on a landline and he jumps in and says, “Who are you talking to!?!” This was a scary moment.
Somewhere in my late teens I had this desire to be a dad one day and I really wanted a daughter(s). Not just any daughter but a buddy, a daughter with similar interests and shared humor.
My wife and I could not have children on our own. We found this out early in our marriage which was very devastating. We knew we wanted kids of our own and so we looked at every option that we could. We tried In-vitro and had two unsuccessful pregnancies. More devastation. We looked into fostering and it just kept getting harder and harder. Adoption was our last option.
We jumped head first into adoption and started looking internationally. At this point we did not care if we could get a boy or girl or infant or toddler. We just wanted a child of our own. International adoption is not for the faint of heart and it is very expensive. So we tried for a domestic adoption.
Long story short we were able to adopt our son in 2011. We were so blessed to have been involved with the birth mom early on in the pregnancy and got to be at the hospital when he was born.
Fast forward a year later my son had just turned one years old. We get a call randomly from my sister-in-law asking us if we were considering having more kids. At that time we were happy with one kid but always felt we were not complete as a family. “Of course, we want more children!” we told her. She goes on to say there is a friend of a friend looking to find a couple to adopt her little girl.
We thought ok maybe she isn’t born yet or an infant. But no, she was 2 years old. Two years old! I was automatically on the fence. Deep down I’ve always wanted a daughter but one that I get to raise from an infant, yes I know that’s selfish. But we knew we had big hearts and her age kind of just rolled off our shoulders and we pursued it.
We got the initial call on a Monday night, by that Saturday we had a frail, malnourished, curly haired little girl in our home and whole-heartedly welcomed into our little family. Crazy right!?
She automatically cling to my wife since she met her first. We had to take things slow since we had pulled her out of a different lifestyle and away from her birth mom.
Over the years she has come into her own and has blown us away with her huge personality, kindness, joy and her amazing talent in acting.
So what does this have to do with health? Well I always wanted to share a lot of similarities with my daughter which now has come to pass. The good and the bad.
We both struggle with our weight, we both eat our feelings, we both love to sit and watch tv and eat at the same time. We try to eat healthy and exercise for a few days and boom someone has a birthday or a holiday comes up and of course we fall prey to cake, pizza, candy, or lose our exercise routine.
My wife recently traveled abroad and when she was gone I let our daughter slide on some sweets and some fast food. As did I. Other than our food struggles we do have a lot of the same good qualities.
We like slap stick humor, we like a good musical, we like feel-good movies, we both like to be silly and sing off key really loud at home to annoy my wife. We are both sarcastic which she’s learning how to use in a funny way not a mean way. We also love listening to ‘90’s pop/R&B in the car really loud. TLC and Backstreet Boys are our jams. We like to play cards and ride our dirt bikes.
My wife gave me the news this week that she follows my leadership more than I know. So, if I eat badly or justify it; you guessed it, so does she. If I don’t make my bed she won’t make her bed. If I lay around wanting to watch tv and be lazy she does it as well. If I want to go outside and play, she’s on my heels.
How can I write a blog about personal health if I can’t even follow my own advice or steps!? How can I expect my daughter to follow my lead if I can’t lead myself? I found out that my daughter wears a zip up hoodie around her waist all day to cover up her belly because she is self-conscious and doesn’t have the confidence to not wear the sweatshirt.
This hurt my heart and I was mad at myself for not being a good example for her and for not making good health decisions for myself.
My wife and I had a conversation about her and myself. We decided to monitor our food portions, start to exercise/workout and be more active to lead by example.
I’m currently on day two of the 21 day fix from Beachbody. We subscribed for the fitness streaming app at $100 for a year with over 1500 different workouts and fitness programs.
It’s already been hard for my daughter and I to eat well, I see her struggling to stay away from bad food and I can relate. Personal health has to be a conscious decision to say No and say Yes to healthy foods, appropriate food portions, activities, and exercise.
I just hope I can be better for her and myself. But more importantly a better leader for my daughter to look up to. Self discipline, support systems, and a conscious decision to push hard, push through, and push beyond to becoming the best version of ourselves has to be the goal.
This season is just a re-alignment of the process to become the best version of ourselves. It won’t be easy but we can team up together as Father and Daughter towards the same goal.
Thanks for reading and following this blog, I hope it has helped you and inspired you to make a change in your life for the good. Until next time.
Original blog by Kurt Neil