When I got to hold my daughter for the first time, I remember all the fears I had of not being able to be a parent to a little child disappearing.
I remember looking at her and thinking of all the things we’d be able do in the future. All the fun we’d have in our backyard having snowball fights and riding our bicycles together. I imagined us having picnics and going on marathon training runs. I imagined us painting our nails and learning how to jump rope.
Actually, I thought of almost none of this. I was a mess of tears who couldn’t think any more than a minute ahead of me.
But now, as my oldest daughter is closing in on turning seven, I’ve had a lot more time to think about the things I have gratefully already done with my daughters as well as the things I would sincerely love to do.
Look, dads love their daughters because their daughters are awesome. So, how can you bond with them? (Hint: it’s easy). This bucket list for dads and daughters isn’t one meant simply to help dads raise amazing daughters—it’s possibly even more about helping dads grow themselves as well.
There are clear extra bonuses to having multiple daughters because these aren’t things a dad should do with one daughter, these are things he should do with all daughters.
1. Believe her. Always.
2. Create two small signs that say “boys and girls” and bring it to a card store that has separate birthday card sections for girls and boys. Put your signs in front of the word boys and in front of the word girls. Buy a chocolate bar or other small candy. Walk out of the store hand in hand.
3. Fall asleep in a tent reading spy novels and then looking at the stars.
4. Find a cause or organization together and support it somehow. This could be a fundraiser or simply sharing that organizations message. Take turns picking the organization so you both learn what is important to one another.
5. Watch Star Wars. All of them. Even the ones you think aren’t worth watching. And watch them all as fast as you can. You aren’t wasting a day watching movies if you’re having fun. Bonus activity: talk in wookie for an entire day following your Star Wars marathon.
6. Paint your nails. You paint hers and she paints yours and then you walk around proudly displaying your work.
7. Build a LEGO set without using any instructions.
8. Put on eye black. You put on hers and she puts on yours and then you walk around proudly pretending to be baseball teammates.
9. Make an erupting volcano together.
10. Create your own female superheroes. Have them rescue men in distress.
11. Publish a book together. Self-publish it and print it off and have a copy in your home that you can read a thousand times.
12. Find out which country is on the other side of the world and write a story about that country.
13. Cry watching Up.
14. Eat an entire cake in one sitting without using any utensils.
15. Start a journal together. Leave notes in it for each other and put it somewhere where they’ll be surprised to find it.
16. Find and do research on a woman who did something amazing in 1905. Tell everyone you know about the contributions of this woman.
17. Write an angry letter to the head of a company who has done something that offends both of you.
18. Go out in public with you wearing pink and her wearing blue because the idea that a colour identifies you is ludicrous.
19. Tell one another how special you are to one another.
20. Watch 10 shows with a hero who is a person of colour.
21. Watch 10 shows where the main character is a member of the LGBTQ community.
22. Talk about the future. About boys, about girls, about puberty, about your childhood.
23. Get a tattoo of one of her drawings.
24. Leave work and school early and go watch a movie together.
25. Put on a shadow puppet show for just the two of you.
26. Hug one another.
27. Skip down the hallways of her school during the school day.
28. Wear sweatpants to a dress up event because sweatpants are comfortable.
29. Dress up as one another for Halloween.
30. Dance together in your living room with the curtains pulled back so everyone can see you.
31. Build a LEGO set way above her age range.
32. Build a LEGO set way below your age range.
33. Buy a toy that has a picture of a group of boys playing on the cover and play that game all day long and then make your own picture to glue on top of the cover.
34. Fight your school’s dress code when your daughter gets sent home for wearing something that is distracting to a boy’s learning environment.
35. Fall asleep with your head on her shoulder.
36. Fall asleep with her head on your shoulder.
37. Believe her. Always.
This is a list that could obviously go on forever and I hope it does. I hope as my daughters continue to grow I’ll continue to find new things we should be doing to conquer the world. I’m sure your list will be filled with amazing things too, and I’d love for you to pass them on if you have them.
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