Daddy Days at Rancho Santana

Being a daddy’s girl is like having permanent armor for the rest of your life.
~ Marinela Reka

I imagine it’s hard at times to be the father of three little girls. As the mom I’ve got the advantage of having been a little girl myself, so when the dark moods and emotional tears make their periodic appearances I usually have the inside track on the inner workings of the young female mind. Brian, on the other hand, is often left scratching his head. “I don’t understand. Why is she crying? Honey, there’s no reason to cry.”

Having been raised with only brothers, it can’t be easy for Brian to be the lone male in this family of women. We all know how true that whole “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus” thing really is. The two sexes approach life and its challenges in very different ways. However, Brian has made valiant efforts to unlock his feminine side and understand the female perspective. And, Lord knows, seeing the perspective of a 6-year-old girl isn’t always easy… even for those of us who used to be one.

This around-the-world journey has done some amazing things for Brian’s relationships with Em, Liv and Ali. There’s a change in the way they interact that’s hard to describe, but it’s definitely there. They seem to just know each other better. When I overhear their conversations it’s clear to me that all of them trust each other more, listen a little closer and voice their ideas more freely. That’s why it’s been nice for Brian to have his own time with the girls during this last part of our trip. It was Daddy-Daughter days first during my solo trip to Lake Titicaca, and then again here in Nicaragua when they all went to the Rancho Santana resort together.
20150805-DSC08645With our steady stream of visitors coming into Granada, it turned out that our friends, the Perrys, wanted to check out the Pacific Coast in the last days of their trip. This happened to be when my friend, Keri, would be arriving for her short stay with us. We decided Keri and I would stay at the house in Granada for some girl time while Brian, the girls and the Perrys spent a couple days at the amazing Rancho Santana resort.
20150806-DSC0886420150806-DSC0883220150806-DSC0878820150806-DSC08720Rancho Santana spans 2700 acres of rolling hills and coastline in western Nicaragua. Brian and the girls swam, surfed, slid down the beach dunes, hung out at the pool and ate some great Nica tacos at the nearby taco stand. The girls watched as Brian attempted to catch some waves. On a scale of 1 to 10 they gave his surfing skills about a 5.5. (Sorry babe) However, in his defense the waves were “super duper ferocious” according to the girls.
20150806-DSC0889420150806-DSC0888620150806-DSC0894520150806-DSC0886920150805-DSC0830120150805-DSC0829820150805-DSC0845520150805-DSC0836520150805-DSC0829220150805-DSC0828220150805-DSC0866820150805-DSC0851420150805-DSC0857520150805-DSC08511The girls and Brian came back from Rancho Santana very tan and very happy. The Daddy-Daughter Days tradition will definitely continue in our family after we return to “normal” life back in the U.S.

The father-daughter relationship is a precious, but somewhat fragile thing. As moms, sometimes we have to help guide our husbands through it, giving them the insights into female thinking they couldn’t possibly know themselves. We might have to whisper in their ears in the beginning, telling him the things little girls need to hear from their daddies because we women are the ones that know.

But then one day, something magical happens. Daddy starts to get it. He understands his little girl better and no longer needs the tutoring. I’ve seen this happen with Brian and our girls, and it’s a beautiful thing. It’s like I’m watching our girls’ confidence in themselves grow and bloom before my eyes. They smile more, handle change easily and brace themselves for life’s challenges with grace. They know in their hearts that when the waves of life come crashing in they won’t be standing in the surf alone. Daddy will be by their sides…getting soaked right along with them. Luckily, Mom always brings towels.


About the Author

Mom, wife, friend and change agent traveling the world with my family to learn our place in it. After spending a career in organizational change management and community initiative implementation, I put my career on hold for our family's trip around the world. In April of 2014 we sold almost everything we own, put the rest in a storage container, and departed on this journey. While my husband continued his software development work to financially support our trip, I planned and documented our adventure, homeschooled our three daughters, and found volunteer work opportunities for us to do in the communities we visit. Now that we've returned to the U.S., I'm completing book about our family's adventure and our lessons learned.

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