Thursday, November 18, 2010

The father-daughter bond

Ed and Tali
Last Saturday marked our 785th date. Since she could sit up, my daughter Talitha and I have logged an average of 45 dates per year. What started out as a way to give my wife time to sleep in on Saturdays has morphed into a highlight of our week. Despite the challenges of work and school, we’ve maintained this sacred, drama free, daddy-daughter time.

The venues and activities have changed over the past seventeen years, but no matter what, we’ve always found ways to create special moments. Playing during the terrific twos, reading through the ‘tween ages, to philosophical debates in the teen years, our dates helped preserve the communication channels critical for a healthy relationship. I believe that commitment is what created the deep bond and communication we enjoy today. The number one recommendation I make to my friends becoming fathers is to date their kids weekly.

Our earliest dates were pretty simple. I had Tali in the backpack, or on the bike seat, or in a stroller, and while walking and riding we’d sing. On Viking v. Packer Sundays, I would bring her with me to my best friend’s house and we would cheer on “the purple team.” Sometimes I just laid her on my chest and we napped together.

As she became mobile and more communicative, our options expanded. We would go to the donut house and then feed the neighborhood geese and ducks with day old bargains. We would go to the park and swing and set sail on our imaginary ships fighting pirates. We wrestled in the leaves, built snow-women. And, I believe we wore out Mouse Trap, Candy Land, and Chutes & Ladders.

Over the next several years, we moved into an intense reading cycle. A voracious lover of books, Tali could not get enough story time. We frequented the corner Starbucks where we sipped hot chocolate and I would read aloud from her favorite magazines like National Geographic Junior and Clubhouse©. As she grew older, we graduated to some serious book reading, each time nuzzling close and enjoying cookies and tea. At Barnes & Noble, we “borrowed” books and read them while sitting in their cafĂ©. We read aloud the entire American Girls series and Lemony Snicket, just to name a few.

We intermixed reading with a fair amount of time at the mall. We’d hang out at the girly stores, taking advantage of the free samples of body washes and lotions. In the department store, we’d tested various perfumes. Tali has assisted me in picking out my wardrobe over the years. She’s always had the keen fashion sense I desperately needed. We also introduced a fare amount of culture into our dates. We’ve hit a variety of museums ranging from children’s, to art, to science. More recently, we’ve included rock concerts and opera, even father – daughter dances. Need I mention that we indulged in movies as well—Team Edward all the way!

(Video of Ed and Tali's father-daughter dance below.)

On the intellectual side, the last two years of dating have become increasingly philosophical. After settling into our favorite breakfast spot, we’ll select a topic of interest, anything from boys, politics, religion, vision, friendships, family, to career. There is a new change of which I’m both proud and nervous: I am no longer driving.

Discussing this blog specifically, we shared our very favorite dates. Tali’s best memories were in Ohio where we used to park in picturesque Little Italy and walk to the Cleveland Museum of Art. Then, returning to Little Italy, we’d buy a quart of Italian Ice. For the next hour or so, we’d sit on a park bench and talk about “stuff” while sharing the Ice. My favorite dates happen at the Dallas Farmers Market where we shop for fresh raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries—our favorites. We’ll carry our bounty to a live music venue and simply lounge while eating berries and talking.

Simple or complex, an hour or entire afternoon, bargain date or a night to splurge, you can always find something to do. The common elements for us include food, conversation, and touch. But most important is consistency. You see, someday, a special man is going to pursue my daughter, and because of our 785 dates (and counting), he will have to be pretty extraordinary to match up to Tali’s dad. She has high expectations of how a woman should be treated. Because of this, she has, and will continue to make wise choices. After all, she is my baby girl, no matter what her age.

Ed Marx
Chief Information Officer
Texas Health Resources


  1. This is truly amazing! What an awesome father! Not many fathers would dedicate this much time...especially when it involcves bath and body works and malls!

  2. Excellent! Thanks, Ed. What a great template for parenthood!

    Charlie Dierker

  3. JUST TO CLARIFY: The phrase "Team Edward all the way!" does NOT connotate an interest in Twilight. Rather, it parodies it with a... pun?... on my dear father's name. Lol :D
    Awesome blog, love you dad <3

  4. You are an awesome dad Ed!!! Hope my daughter (who is now8) still looks at me like she looks at you when she is her age!!! From Jamie Coffin

  5. Ed,

    I have a 9 month old daughter and i'll follow your lead. thank you for such a heart warming story. If we all did this to some extent, many of our social evils will go away permanently.

  6. Great story Ed!

    I have two boys (15 & 19) and two girls (17 & 21)and while I spend lot's of time doing "guy" things with my boys - I really look forward to the times I spend with my girls. We cook, we shop, we do home decorating projects, we go to movies, libraries, and have just a great time.

    What a blessing!


  7. What a great post, Ed! Thanks for sharing these fun times and great memories. I have a one year old little boy right now and I think this could definitely be used for sons and daughters alike. How fun! Lauren Newton (Protiviti)