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Girls..Numero Dos: Alexis Nicole

My children, all of them, are special.  Alexis is my most misunderstood daughter.  If you took a picture of

me at 15 and Alexis at 15, cut everything away but the eyes, brow line and nose line, we would be twins.  It is scary how much of my family characteristics she has, but back up and she doesn’t look like me… She is pretty, blonde (or used to be before she started experimenting with hair color,) makes great grades without effort, and can sing (if only she would.)

Alexis is unique, with a dry, cutting humor…deadpan demeanor…a facade of not caring about anything in the world – especially her dad.

Alexis and I have had some pretty great moments.  Once, we spent an entire day alone in London exploring the city, touring and seeing the sites.  We went to Westminster Cathedral, St Paul’s, The Tower of London, Harrod’s and other places to see and be seen.  The rest of the family had gone home early, but we stayed behind because Lex had lost a day to sickness and we did not want her to miss anything.

On our way home, she got to experience something that I had experienced twenty years earlier, she got to meet John Glenn.   For my generation, John Glenn was an icon.  He was THE astronaut. He was the first man to orbit the earth.  In Alexis’ generation, he was the oldest astronaut ever, circling the globe again in the Space Shuttle at age 77.  He had just returned from this mission when we ran into him in Washington, DC. I had met him in Washington when I was 17 and spent almost an hour in his office with him during an interview for television and now Alexis was meeting him after his momentous trip into space for the second time.

Alexis and I had it good.  She was kind of a buddy and would go with me often. She seemed to have no fear and was incredibly funny.

Then something happened to Alexis and I.  She really wanted to go camping, so we took a father-daughter trip to Unicoi State Park outside of Helen, Georgia.  That evening we went to dinner at Unicoi Lodge and ate at the buffet.  There was trout on the buffet and I wanted Alexis to try it. Her answer? No!  It was emphatic.

My authority was challenged.  Alexis was already kind of defiant and would not apologize or have any part in not being the strongest will in any match of wits and wills.  I pushed and she stonewalled.  She stonewalled and I pushed. That is one of the most regretful days of my life.  Alexis ceased to be my buddy on that trip.  We had a stand off and I lost.  Oh, I was in charge and I was dad, but I lost.  As I type this, I am experiencing the emotion of that loss and tears fill my eyes.  I lost something huge that day.  I can only wish to have it back.

It has been about eight years since that trip.  We have never gone camping since.  We have never done anything, one-on-one, since.  She has never told me she loved me without cajoling, since.  She has never just bear hugged me since, or kissed my cheek or held my hand.  She is still my daughter and I am so very proud of her.  Still, I miss my old Alexis.

Now, moving into adulthood, she is a young woman. She is beautiful, self-sufficient, smart, a university student, a girlfriend to a nice guy, a person who has taste and style, and she never gives her Mom or myself a worry in the world. We never wonder if Alexis is going to do anything out of bounds.  She can be trusted.  She is trustworthy.

She is still funny, still deadpan, still Alexis and she is a good daughter.

I wonder sometimes what she will become or do or contribute to the world at large.  She has so much potential and gifts that are within her.  I hope there is a human that unlocks that potential and waters her garden of goodness and ability.  I wish it could be me.

Sometime, Alexis says it is too often, I go by her workplace when she is working just to say hello.  Her sister works there, too, but with much less regularity.  I love to see them there in their gorgeous purple-and-black Taco Bell uniforms.  Alexis makes me a great veggie burrito – the best I have ever had.  I feel love in that burrito from her to me.

When I am speaking and she is there, I always wonder what she is thinking. I can speak to hundreds of people and if Alexis is there I wonder how she is hearing me, understanding me, getting me….and how she feels or thinks about what I am speaking.  I never dare to ask.  If I did ask I would be told she was not listening. I feel that is not true, but whatever.

Alexis is Alexis.  When she was born Alexis Carrington was a character on an evening soap opera and was the meanest, most conniving woman in the world.  My mother, God bless her heart, tried to dissuade me from using that name.  She felt it might always color Alexis’ world.  Well, that Alexis was cancelled, but my Alexis is not colored by anyone, anywhere.  In the words of Helen Reddy….she is woman, hear her roar!

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