You can go your own way

If that means my daughter doesn’t want to bleed black and gold, that’s OK

It’s no secret that parenting is a trying experience that could force you to one day face uncomfortable facts about your child.

Our family recently had one of those moments. I don’t want to write this, but it is her truth: my daughter is not a Boston Bruins fan.

It’s not that she dislikes the Bruins; it’s that she’s ambivalent about them. We can point fingers and assign blame, but after sleepless nights spent wrestling with this unexpected tribulation, her mom and I have to be comfortable with the idea that we tried our best to instill important ideals in her.

My daughter can tell you that life around our house grinds to a halt around 7 p.m. on game nights, and Terry O’Reilly, the greatest Bruin of all time, is someone you should pattern your life after. (You think it’s Bobby Orr? You get your own column.)

That’s the extent of her allegiance to the “Black and Gold.” In other words — she’s definitely her own person.

She actually played hockey for a few years. She started as a forward and ended her career between the pipes — just like her mom. That’s where the fracture in our household begins.

I grew up a fanatic, playing youth and high school hockey (enthusiastically, but poorly) and her mom has been a goalie for more than 25 years, once recording a shutout in a women’s professional game in Toronto.

My 17-year-old, however, called it a career when she discovered music. She put down the goalie stick, climbed up on a stool next to an upright bass and forged her own path. I can’t say I was crushed because driving to rinks in Saugus, Mass., wasn’t among my favorite things to do. And truth be told, it’s been great to see her embrace her own passions.

Jason Isbell (an artist I tried to foist upon her, as well) sums up these kinds of hopes in his lyric: “Just find something that makes you happy and do it ‘til you’re gone.”

Besides, I know my job as her dad isn’t to share interests with her, but to encourage her to find her own. If a 17-year-old girl and her 30-year-old father liked all the same things, it would be odd. And you don’t know that I’m not 30 except if you can do math and have seen the headshot at the top of this column.

Happily, she’s found that kind of joy through music, drama and comedy. The enthusiasm that bursts out of her after a performance or a show is practically tangible. Her mother and I only hoped she would someday find something that brought her that kind of happiness and fulfillment. If the Bruins are not that — it’s OK.

As long as it’s not the Canadiens.

Bill Burke wants none of that stinkin’ root beer. He lives in southern New Hampshire with his wife and daughter and is the Managing Editor of Custom Publications for McLean Communications.

Categories: Dad on Board