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A Little Girl's First Love

by danny's world 4 months ago in parents · updated 4 months ago
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A man has to decide whether he'd want his children to date a man like him.

1997.

It's Wednesday, and a man is twenty six years old. Early in the evening, he escorts his wife to the maternity ward of the hospital, eager for his first child. It's a girl, small and sickly, taken away to be cared for. It's easy to speculate, as a prospective parent, how one would act or feel around their child. It's easy to make plans on how to parent if you haven't become one.

The moment the baby is born, everything the man thought he knew changes before his eyes.

It's Thursday, and the man is twenty nine. He picks up his small children from school, still young and lively, still retaining hope in his eyes. It's hard to tell when things will change: from now until then. It's hard to tell when the man will start to lose his livelihood. Something he understands - as a man, as a father - is that people lose their spark as they age. A child's youthful eyes and childish demeanor becomes tainted by the knowledge of life's harsh truths. Something he knows as a father is that he'd do anything to shield the children.

Wake up, please. You're my best friend! You're too young to die! When I have children, I promise to make sure they know about you.

It's Monday, and the man is thirty five. He's begun to grow weary from work and children, whom he loves dearly. It's hard for a man to raise his children with patience when he was raised with anger. It's hard to come to terms with secrets and worries when you're meant to be stoic. Despite the support of his wife and the ties to his family, a man deals with emotions in private, manifesting them angrily and unfairly.

Trauma is one of those things that sneaks up on you years after it happens. You can be shopping in a store, or going on a date, or graduating from college - and remember it out of nowhere. It's one of those things you can pass onto your children if you aren't careful, without even knowing you've done it.

It's Saturday, and the man is thirty nine. His children have begun to act up in ways he doesn't appreciate, and he deals with them in ways his wife suggests. When his daughter doesn't listen, she gets spanked with a spoon. When his son is disrespectful, he gets shouted at. The man was raised in a time where children respected their elders: did what they were told without being asked, never spoke back when being spoken to. His children were unruly and argumentative, and he deserved respect.

Why do we have to respect you if you don't respect us, Dad?

Why? Because I'm your father, that's why.

2000.

It's Tuesday, and the man is forty one. Early in the morning, the family sleeps deeply, exhausted after long days at work and school, resting to repeat the cycle tomorrow. In the kitchen, the man's teenage daughter stands in front of the fridge, browsing for food. Teenagers don't work, and they don't contribute. When he sneaks out of bed and into the kitchen, she looks nervous.

You're not entitled to food, you know. I bought all of that, and I didn't say you could have it.

It's Friday, and the man is forty two. His teenage children stand in the basement, receiving rings that promise them to spouses.

He often wishes to know what goes on in the mind of his wife and children. When he feels anxious or depressed, he lashes out at them, leaving them anxious and alone. It's hard to be a man. It's harder yet to be a father. The thing is that no one knows what kind of parent they'll be until they become one.

It's 1983, and the man is fourteen years old. His mother, a beautiful woman, suddenly passes away, leaving the boy and his three siblings alone with a very religious father.

Sometimes, when he feels out of control, the man picks a fight with his wife or his children. Sometimes, when he feels disrespected, he yells insults at them.

It's Wednesday, and the man is forty five. His college aged daughter has a boyfriend, and the man has strong opinions. The thing is: a man is his daughter's first love. When a teenage girl dates boys, she thinks it's normal to be mistreated. The thing is: a man is his son's first role model. When a teenage boy dates girls, he treats them the way his father treats his mother.

2009.

A teenage boy, standing angrily in the middle of the kitchen, shouts with the man and his wife. He's been disrespectful, and now isn't entitled to dinner.

It's Tuesday, and the man is forty five. When his college-aged daughter announces she's pregnant, he shouts and takes out frustrations on his wife.

You know, having a messy room is very disrespectful to us. We own everything in it, because we own this house and everything inside it.

It's Tuesday, and the man is forty seven. After discovering the main actor in his favourite show is gay, he vows to stop watching. His daughter has become very withdrawn - cutting off all her hair and making superficial conversation. The baby lives at home, causing fights between the man's wife and his daughter - both trying to raise the baby their own way.

What does it mean to be a man?

Speculation. Masculinity. You could ask two men what makes them a man, and they'd tell you different things.

It's Thursday, and the man is fifty two. When he begins to feel sick, he discovers he has cancer, and is admitted to a hospital in a large city. Day in, day out, tended to by nurses and his wife, he becomes thin and depressed.

They say a man should be strong and stoic, keeping his emotions inside as if he's a robot, as if men don't have emotions. The thing is: emotions work in much the same way as volcanoes. Hidden inside for too long, they burst open and burn everything in their path.

parents

About the author

danny's world

neurodivergent, trans writer and parent. canadian. lover of nature, animals, mythology, travel, and knowledge. doing my best to feel comfortable inside this flesh vessel i call home.

i enjoy writing gay shit and torturing my protagonists.

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