Monday, June 29, 2009

My Date With A Blue Haired Girl

Last week I had a date with my daughter. It was dinner at her favorite Sushi restaurant followed by a quest to pick up a little something for her mother.

My daughter is a wonderful little girl - okay, she's 16 years old, but she's still my little girl and always will be - who happens to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder that has effected her since she was a baby. She is very social, extremely likable, intelligent and has a keen moral fabric, much thanks to her wonderful and solidly based mother. Her anxiety isn't so crippling that she won't come out of her house, it is more fear of unknown, but on a scale that is beyond most people's understanding.

Our dinner out was simply fantastic. We entered the restaurant and heads turned. You see, my daughter has bright blue hair. She has her own sense of style and her hair color is a huge part of her persona. Hair color can also be changed, it isn't permanent, so if it makes her confident and happy, this dad is all for it. Remember, this is my little girl.

It was a delightful evening. There was an older woman with her thirty-something daughter sitting at the counter just down from us. She couldn't keep her eyes off my daughter and gave me the occasional glance as if to say, "How can you let your daughter go out in public that way." My typical reaction is to smile until they just look away. Don't try to place your set of standards on me or my daughter. As a friend of my wife's likes to say - "Fuck That!" My daughter didn't color her hair for shock value, it is just part of her artistic expression and for that I am glad.

Staring old folks aside, the waitress and the sushi chef were enthralled. Partly because they were closer to my daughter's age and "got it". But also because they talked with her and saw the spark, the creativity, the intelligence and great personality and were drawn to her like metal to a magnet. The chef was actually flirting and my daughter seemed most disinterested or perhaps just oblivious. He even made a special dish, just to show off a bit. While it wasn't one she liked, I can tell you it was delicious. I didn't mind being the benefactor of the spell she had placed over this young man. I like sushi.

My daughter not only likes sushi, she likes everything Japanese. Manga. The language. The culture. The silly television shows. So when our waitress, who was a student at a nearby college, started talking about her visits to Japan, the two became instant friends. My little girl has that effect on people. She will also remember our waitress and all the details about her and pick it right up when we return. She is a terrific kid. I wish we were in a position to get her to Japan for study, but even if we could, her anxiety has the power to prevent her for even stepping on an airplane, let alone going so far as to Japan by herself. Fortunately that doesn't prevent her from following her heart and staying with her interests....domestically.

After our dinner, we were off to Best Buy on a quest for the Holy Grail of our household. Music has been an important part of our home since my kids were babies. Their mother always had CD's or the radio playing, but in the past two plus years we have moved three times and the set up we had for playing music is still hiding in a box somewhere. We needed music in the house again. Our Holy Grail - an iHome for Mom's iPod.

We snuck it into the house, plugged it in and started playing music. I would say what happened after that makes my top ten list, if not top five, for most memorable moments in my life. You couldn't have taken the smile from my wife's face with a jack hammer and she danced. And danced. And sang. I almost cried. I had spent a great evening on a date with my kid and had the opportunity to bring the joy of music back into my house. If I had died right then and there, it would have been a life worth living. Call me glutenous, but of these moments....I want more.


the walking man said...

We have a common saying in Detroit. We use it frequently because of our penchant for "blue hair and cat ear headbands."

The nation looks askance at us and all we have become with our own "anxiety disorders" too numerous to list; but to them all who rudely stare and question our being, we as a city, simply shrug and say "fuck 'em"

I never should have allowed my son to watch Shogun at age 5. That's where it began for him. By age 15 he was fluent enough in both kanji and spoken Japanese to find an exchange student to practice with.

At age 21 he decided to quit his full ride scholarship and go and work for a year in an auto plant in southern Japan.

Must have been a hell of year, no group supporting him, no subsidy from any school, just himself who decided he didn't like working in an auto parts plant. He took a job teaching Japanese as a second language to Chinese and Koreans.

Of course he didn't make enough money to pay the rent so it cost us 3k to spring him. He went back twice since for less lengthy stays, which didn't cost us much except for the excess luggage fees.

Now he's married to a wonderful Thai young lady and learning her language. I love her like my own daughter but I am wondering how much their trip (unannounced thus far) is going to cost us.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

You are a lucky man.


PhilipH said...

Great story MM. Your blue-haired daughter is lovely and hopefully she will be less bothered by her anxiety problem as time goes by. I am a great believer in the "time heals everything" - which it obviously does ... eventually. She certainly seems to have a great personality.

My sister-in-law, who is slightly older than I, served as a missionary in the Japanese Evangical Band until about 10 year ago. She spent some 30-odd years in Kobe, spreading the 'word' to all who would listen. The Japanese are mainly Shintoist or Buddhists of course but sis-in-law did not let a minor thing like that put her off.

She held 'bible classes' for all, with the addition of tuition in the English language for one hour after each bible class. She learned to speak Japanese in her first few years in Kobe and her bible classes became very popular. I think she realised that it was really the English tuition that attracted most of her 'flock'. She was initially 'converted' when she attended a Billy Graham meeting when she was about 20-something & remains a spinster as she is wedded to her work.

BTW, when I was about 21 I bought a very bright blue suit. Shiny material, as blue as the bluest summer sky. I felt great when I wore it for the first time but as I walked out my house to catch a bus I felt as though everybody was looking at me. I felt quite self conscious and uncomfortable. I gave it to my younger brother after that one wearing! Your daughter would not have acted so stupidly as I did then, I'm pretty sure of that!