The Letter A & The Number Alexa Brower

 June 17, 2012

 this post is brought to you by the letter "A" and the number "4"...

As the author of this guest post I figure I should begin by introducing myself. My name is Lexie, and you’ve probably seen me before… and wondered who the heck I was and what I was doing in Lori’s blog photos. I’ve been confusing viewers like you since 2007.

I'm the girl 3rd from the right in the matching Lilly Pulitzer dress.

As a member of the Printy brood, I have gone by several titles. Depending on the day, I could be the nanny, girlfriend, daughter, wife, aunt, babysitter, sister, daughter-in-law, or the crazy girl that keeps following them around. Although I am currently serving under the official title of “Kiefer’s girlfriend,”

I also consider myself, first and foremost, to be Dart and Lori’s un- officially adopted eldest daughter – a title I am extremely proud of and grateful for.

 My journey into the Printy clan began in the 7th grade. Kiefer and I attended the same middle school for one semester, until he transferred in the middle of our seventh year. I remember the day his dad came to help him pack up his locker and leave. I was wandering the school halls with a friend while out on a hall-pass, and stopped to say goodbye to Kiefer. As he walked out the door, Kiefer did not turn around to return my farewell but the gigantic bald guy escorting him out did turn around to wave at me and offer a “Goodbye,” in response. Little did I know in that moment how much that giant bald man would mean to me in the future.

Fast forward a few years, and that giant guy is the only one I would dare to refer to as my Daddy.

He looks all big and tough, but has the softest heart. He played college football for an Ivy League school. He’s a talented teacher, but has chosen to stay at home and take care of his littlest girls. Dart attempts to brush out tangled hair, make ponytails, and create matching outfits – although not always successfully. He drives a huge truck, full of pink carseats and Disney princess accessories. He loves ice hockey and Labatt Blue, but can carry on a ten minute conversation about Nick Jr.’s programming lineup. Dart saves the US Weekly magazines that get sent to his house (thanks, Arman!) for me, because he knows I’ll be craving trashy celebrity gossip at some point.

He is reliable and dependable. If I have a problem, I call Dart - as does everyone else in this family. If I ever end up in jail, Dart will be my one phone call. If I’m ever kidnapped from a foreign country, he’s coming after me Liam Neeson style. (Note to anyone plotting to kidnap me, you should probably just preemptively give up now.) He’s listed in my iPhone as “Daddy,” and is my in-case-of-emergency contact. I often wonder how he doesn’t collapse from the exhaustion of fixing everyone’s problems. He may be the most patient man I have ever met in my entire life. “Blessed is the man that hears many gentle voices calling him father.” – Lydia M. Child Well…

Around here our voices may be many, but they aren’t so gentle. We whine, yell, bicker, and complain, yet he somehow continues to tolerate us. When Dart’s little girls scream out, “Daddy!” he responds to them by name every time.

When I am stressed, Dart reminds me that I am always welcome to “hide out” with him until things calm down. When I am frustrated with Kiefer, Dart gives me a hug and some advice about his own child – but from the perspective of being MY protector. ~

As a daughter, I believe the impact of a father on a girl’s life is of the utmost importance – a father shapes his little girl’s world. However, it is far easier to be a father than a daddy.

A real Daddy loves the mother of his children. He saves the day, spends quality time, and savors the moments spent with his daughter. He spoils her silly, while teaching her responsibility. A Daddy tells his daughter that she’s beautiful, and makes sure she knows exactly how much she deserves. He teaches her to respect herself. A Daddy wants to kill any man that mistreats his little girl. A Daddy wants to catch her before she falls, but knows when to step back and allow for her to learn her own lessons. A Daddy picks her up, dusts her off, kisses the boo-boos, and gives advice for next time. A Daddy shows up for his daughter’s birthday and celebrates her life’s milestones with pride. A Daddy leads by example and lives a life worth emulating through future generations.

Growing up, I always wished for a Daddy. To put things simply: my own father never wanted
children. Even though my parents were married and financially stable at the time of my birth, I
was not mutually desired by both of my parents. I consider myself extremely lucky to have been
brought up in a middle class household, in which my parents were capable of providing for my
physical needs. However, I always knew a great emotional chasm existed between my father
and me. The reason for this divide was far beyond my capacity of understanding as a child, and
remains my biggest struggle as a young adult. My father was never my “Daddy,” and I was never his “Perfect Little Girl.” I think we both knew this from day one.

I remember worrying about the father-daughter dance at my wedding. I remember yearning
for my father’s acceptance and approval. I remember the disappointment of never feeling good
enough. While I still struggle with the estranged relationship I have with my father I have found self
acceptance and confidence through my relationship with my Daddy, Dart.

While there was not a single paradigm-shifting moment I learned over time to trust Dart. Our
little seemingly meaningless day to day interactions have made all the difference for me. For example before I went to Europe last summer Dart showed up at the house with a new digital camera and an electrical outlet adapter. He taught me to use the adapter and sent me on my way. I was floored that he had been thinking of me and wanted to provide me with these resources.

When I squeeze my little hatchback into a tight parking spot in the Printy’s packed driveway Dart says, “Good job.”  He calls to check in on me and asks if I want to go grocery shopping. Dart is my safe person. When I cry, I wish he was with me. He’s never let me down.

None of Dart’s daughters share his DNA, but that doesn’t matter in the least. We know that
we are his and he is ours.
We know he will always be there, unconditionally. He didn’t make
us, but he loves us. He makes us laugh, teaches us, and scolds us. He will dance with us at our
weddings. I feel honored to be one of the girls under his care.

And while I’m not sure if he will actually read this or not, I’d like to say a big Thank you and Happy Father’s Day!

We love you.

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