When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was to play with my oldest brother’s hair. Mel is 15 years older than I am so, when I was 7, he was already an adult of 22. By the time I was 10, he was an old man in my eyes and, to be honest, having him around was like having an extra father around. My own father always kept his hair “high and tight” in the military style, so it simply wasn’t possible to torture him, and so all of my energies focused on my very patient oldest brother. And, to his credit, he always humored me and was able to walk that line between being an older sibling and an extra father-figure.
Some of my favorite memories are of Mel sitting quietly, smoking his pipe, while I took a comb and a gazillion rubber bands and put little 3-inch pony tails sticking out all over from his head. Even better was when I could paint his finger nails while he was sleeping; something he never would’ve allowed if he’d been awake. And through it all, he never complained.
As I got older and had my own children, I realized that this must be the role of a father (and in some cases the brothers): to sit quietly for the little girls in the family, while those little girls experiment with hair and makeup. Even my own husband who grew up as an only child seemed to inherently understand that this was his role. My favorite pictures of Troy are from our daughter’s 3rd birthday when she decorated him with the tiara and earrings she received as a gift. He doesn’t look particularly thrilled in the pictures, but he never complained. Such is the role of a father, I suppose.
The other day I was driving down the road with Braden in the back seat of the car. Out of the blue, Braden says: “When I have children, I hope I don’t have any girls?”
“Why is that?” I asked.
“Have you seen the pictures of Dad??” he exclaimed. “When Sister was little, she put a crown and earrings on him and all kinds of girly stuff! I wouldn’t want that!”
“Okay,” I said, “but what does that have to do with you having girls?”
“Well, if I was a Dad and had any girls, then I’d have to do that! That’s what good dads do, and I’d want to be a good dad, but I really don’t think I could handle all that makeup and junk!”
Ahhhhh…gotcha! Apparently he doesn’t remember the many times he served as model for his older sister as she “decorated” him to her heart’s content.
“Okay, but maybe the girls wouldn’t make you do that. You never know,” I replied.
“Oh yeah they would! You know how kids are!”
Ha! He has a point! And I guess maybe it’s something my oldest brother, Mel, must’ve considered as well. He went on to have five boys. Not a single girl in the bunch.