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Bonding With My Daughter Over ‘Walking Dead’

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My daughter, Annie, and I have a long-standing tradition of having father/daughter days. When she was little, that usually involved grabbing breakfast at McDonald’s and then listening to every kind of music under the sun and, of course, a lot of talk. That may not sound like much, but the music was a bond between us that lasts until this day.

We don’t exactly have the same taste when it comes to music, but we both have a deep appreciation of every kind of music there is, and therein lies part of the bond. While Annie is decidedly her own person, that wonderful bond has lasted over the years, and music, theater, and art have always been at the core of that bond.

When Annie was young, I tried to teach her as much of┬áthe arts as I knew. That desire for her to know about such things inspired me to learn more about those art forms and, as a result, we both learned from each other. We both gained a great deal from just riding around, listening to everything from opera to rap and everything in-between. Sometimes, she would surprise me with knowledge that I didn’t know she had.

Once, when she was 9 or 10, we were in a coffee shop that had a rack of postcards based on great works of art. There were postcards of all the great and famous artists, but Annie was studying one card in particular. She turned to me and told me that one of the postcards looked like it might be a piece of work from Mary Cassat. I took one look at the card, and I recognized Cassat’s unique work. I flipped the card over, and, sure enough, it was a painting by Cassat. I was so proud, I could have popped.

Annie is now 30 and, to this day, we still have daddy/daughter time once a week, even though she is now grown and has two beautiful kids of her own. That time with my daughter is as important to me now as it was when she was little. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but the whole dynamic of daddy/daughter time has changed a lot over the years and, as a result, I’m doing something I never thought I might do.

Each Sunday evening, my daughter shows up and we watch “Walking Dead.” I never had any real interest in the show, but that’s what Annie wanted to do. So, dutiful dad that I am, I “watched” the show with Annie. I didn’t really pay much attention to the show at first. I just enjoyed hanging out with Annie. A few weeks passed, and I noticed that I was beginning to pay a little attention. Over time, I learned enough about the show to at least be able to ask a few questions. The next thing I knew, I was actually watching the show.

Last night, I have to admit, that I was able to follow the show on my own, and when they bumped off a major character, I was surprised. Annie was devastated. Now I have to deal with the fact that, yes, I’m looking forward to the next episode.

The point is (you knew I’d get there eventually) that the dynamics of daddy/daughter day have┬áchanged: no more riding around around, talking and listening to music. That has been replaced by watching TV, texting with friends about the show, and talking non-stop about the characters and what might happen next. The thing is, despite all the hubbub, we are still sharing time and talking and, most importantly, bonding.

Here’s to the”Walking Dead.” I wouldn’t trade this time for anything in the world. Having my grown daughter want to spend time with me is worth more than gold.

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