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When in doubt, keep it to yourself

Grant McGee, Local Columnist

There’s a John Mayer song called “Daughters” that includes the words “... fathers be good to your daughters.”

It was in my head when I gave my oldest daughter some advice that may have been too blunt.

From North Carolina came the news through the family grapevine that No. 1 Daughter (Wendy) plans on marrying her long-time friend Danny in January. It was No. 2 Daughter (Robyn) who told me.

“And she hasn’t even told mom yet,” Robyn said. “But mom knows, I told her.”

It was OK that No. 1 Daughter hadn’t told me yet. I haven’t strictly adhered to form and function, which has gotten me into trouble at various points along life’s merry path.

I thought I ought to remind No. 1 Daughter it was important to quickly tell her mother about her plans because her mother does adhere to form and function.

I sent an e-mail.

I was passing on a lesson I learned when I first married. My mother heard about my engagement from someone else and my father admonished me for not telling her myself.

In the e-mail I also wished her and Danny the best and included, “…I wish this the most success ever, it is something you have hoped for. I want you to know, though, if things don’t work out, you can always talk to me about it and I won’t hassle you about it.”

No. 1Daughter wrote back. She thought I was sending her a “guilt trip” since she hadn’t told me about the plans. Then she wrote, “…you mention, ‘if this doesn’t work out.’ What does that mean? Do you know something that I don’t know?”

“You wrote WHAT?” blurted my friend Lizzie.

“Well, I just wanted her to know if it all fell apart…”

“You don’t tell that to freshly engaged people. You wish them well, you wish them happiness. The reality stuff is what the rest of us talk about when they’re not around.”

I didn’t want No. 1 Daughter to encounter what I did.

I remember before I married No. 1 Daughter’s mother my family tried to tell me problems lay ahead (they thought I was horribly mismatched with my “intended”). It turned out they were right. When it all went down the tubes I was met with “I told you so,” and that’s a lonesome feeling. It’s not that I expect something bad, I just wanted No. 1 Daughter to know I was there for her.

So when they called for the “boy-asks-the-girl’s-father-for-her-hand-in-marriage” thing I wished them well. I told both of them to remember they’re marrying because they love each other and are best friends, that when negative things happen they are friends, to be kind to each other and remember the big rule in relationships: give more, expect less.

“You don’t tell them THAT,” Lizzie admonished after the call. “Just wish them well. They’re thinking of living happily ever after.”

Another faux pas.

So the next day I got No. 1 Daughter’s voicemail and left a message apologizing if I came across too straightforward and such. I said a number of parents wish they could keep the tough things that happen to us in life from happening to their children. That’s where I was coming from.

And I hear the song again, “…fathers be good to your daughters…”

Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at:

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