I guess there is a double standard.
When my boys were younger, I had no problem with them growing up. Older sons meant more help for me around the yard (well, that was the theory anyway.)
It meant they could take on more responsibility, be more independent and with each passing day they were one more step closer to striking out on their own and forging their personal path through the world.
It is inevitable that they become masters of their own domain. It is repeated constantly throughout not only the human kingdom, but the animal world as well.
In certain animal clans, sons are eventually considered a threat to the papa and he 'encourages' them to leave the pack. Some animals take it to an extreme level.
If a papa bear finds another male in their territory, woe be to the invader. He will go after the other male with all the ferocity he can muster, no matter the age of the other bear and even if it is his own offspring. Momma bear will step in and defend baby bear. And papa bear better watch out because hell hath no fury like an angry mom.
We humans tend to be far less aggressive in encouraging our young ones to venture out on their own, but when they come home and find all their stuff in boxes, that is usually a pretty good sign it is time to go.
I have not done that (yet anyway) because I want to support my kids through post secondary schooling and other challenges, but rest assured there will come a day when I will go papa bear on them if they decide living in the parental den is easier than creating their own.
I may be human, but humans are mammals and mammals are animals and animals eventually kick their offspring out into the unsuspecting world.
So I had no problem with my sons soaring through their teen years. I had no problem with my boys becoming men. I looked forward to it on many occasions.
So what does this have to do with a double standard? I also have a daughter and for some reason there is a whole different outlook for 'daddy's little girl.'
I don't want her to grow up and become a teen and act like she is all grown up. I certainly don't want her to look like she is all grown up.
Some of what I am feeling may be because she is the baby of the family and it is hard to watch your youngest grow up, but a lot of it is she is my little girl.
It struck me like a freight train the other morning when she was heading off to school that my little girl is not so little anymore.
What was that stuff on her face? Make-up! What! She is not old enough for make up. She is barely in high school.
And what do you mean you and your friend want to meet a couple boys at Timmies? Boys are icky, remember? Boys are gross.
At one time, her room had pictures of fairy tale princesses on the walls, then it was teen heart throbs (such as what's-his-name, you know, that Beaver kid.)
Then one day she took down all the posters and asked if we had any spray paint. Um, OK, feel free to express yourself, it's your room. She invited me to look at her 'new' room and it was the bedroom of a full-blown teenager.
Posters had been replaced by groovy spray-painted drawings, there was not a dolly in sight and her music has gone from Veggie Tales to the latest pop songs.
I know my little girl is not a little girl anymore, but that does not mean I have to like it.
Now if you will excuse me, I have to put on my martial arts uniform and sharpen my collection of knives – one of those icky boys is stopping by.
copyright 2014, Darren Handschuh