The GirlsSteven Lieberman
I will start out this column asking you to forgive and indulge me.
Each week I select a topic that I will write about, and news happening notwithstanding, I spend a couple of days pondering how to address the topic and then begin to write.
As a regular reader, you know that my writings are rants, satire, dialectics, and hopefully informative. They are, all however deeply personal.
This particular one is not about guns… though guns do play an substantial role. They are not about tactics… at least not in the traditional sense…
This is about being a father, and the realization that my daughters are slipping beyond me.
This article is deeply bittersweet.
Chaney, who many of you have met at Artemis is about to finish her freshman summer. By the time you read this she will be in the middle of her second day as a sophomore at the Orange County School of Performing Arts. Carolyn, Sandy and my oldest daughter is in downtown Los Angeles working away at her architectural firm, and designing entertainment venues. Her firm has been contracted to work on the Great Park, and I know she has done some work on that project, but she also works on stuff in Dubai, and Asia.
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Last week the girls and I took Sandy to dinner in Laguna Beach. At the last minute Carolyn informed us that her boyfriend would also be joining us. This is the first time that Carolyn has ever brought a boy home.
Hmmm… it would appear to be serious.
As we sat there at dinner and I looked at our girls I realized that they have reached a place where they need me less and less.
Carolyn is an adult executive woman, with a sense of self, and self worth that generates a natural charisma.
Chaney, who is on the cusp of turing fifteen has accomplished more in the short time she has spent on this planet than many who have lived complete lives.
Both have a fierce sense of personal dignity, responsibility, integrity.
Both also began shooting at a very early age.
Guns have always been present in our home. Sandy and I felt that making them taboo items, or shielding our girls from the realities of life would at best to them a disservice, and at worst lead to tragedy.
Through the device of the gun our family spent time together. We went to the range together, we cleaned our guns together. There was no sexism or paternalism. The girls knew and saw that there mother was as accomplished and knowledgeable as their father.
They also hunted with me.
Carolyn started out with squirrels, shot a wild boar, saved my life on a bear hunt, shot deer on Catalina, and an elk in central California. Her love of hunting was a device to spend time with me. She enjoys hunting, but she is first and foremost and urban creature.
Chaney started out on exotics, then moved on to rabbits (her most difficult hunt was ironically a rabbit hunt), Bison, elk and deer.
They are fiercely patriotic, yet distrustful of centralized power. They both hate tyranny and injustice, especially when injustice comes in the form of a government seeking to control its citizens for the sake of control.
They are individualists. That rugged sense of individualism comes form self reliance. Collectivism comes from a fundamental distrust of the self. They know their weaknesses, but have the intestinal fortitude to push through those weaknesses. They are not satisfied with the mediocre, they demand much of themselves, and by extension much of others.
They are quintessentially American.
As each year passes they rely less and less on the parentage of Sandy and myself. Sure, we are there and always will be for guidance, and unconditional love… but I’ve seen that need for our guidance has waned.
They are renaissance women. They discover something that interests them and self study to essentially become experts at it. They are passionate about learning, and their learning fuels their passion. They have learned to “suck the marrow out of life.”
So as I sit here and think about the two of them at dinner in Laguna Beach the other night I wonder where my two little daughters have gone. These beautiful, strong willed, confident and elegant women have snatched them away from me.
Fortunately I know that a hunt looms ahead in our future where we can, together, glass for game, stalk our quarry, and hopefully if our marksmanship is true connect with our animal. Then around a campfire we can drink our ale and recount past adventures.