**I am a first born in a family that was blessed with three girls after me. My late dad spent most of his parenting years raising daughters.
Both mom and dad worked jobs that gave them just enough money to feed, clothe and educate us, so for many years we relied on Akamba and Mbukinya bus services to haul us to the city when we went visiting him and back to Vihiga after the holidays.
Most of the time, my dad would book three seats together, so I’d be on the window seat carrying Nelly (may her heart rest in peace), mom would be in the middle carrying the lastborn (Julliet) while dad carefully sat Anne on his laps. Nairobi to Vihiga in the early 90s was a journey that took at least six hours of jumping over bumps, going in and out of potholes and holding tightly onto each other at sharp corners, most notoriously around Muhoroni.
By the time we arrived, Anne would have sat in all angles and turned to every possible side, lovingly clutched by my old man’s laps.
Three decades later all of us have grown, the two remaining sisters are on the verge of getting married and my old man went to be with the Lord.
I am now the father carrying the legacy of that compound, and although I am yet to get a daughter, the tender loving, care and maximum protection I saw dad extend to my sisters has moulded who I am, guiding me on how I raise the five-year-old who now calls me dad.
I was therefore astonished beyond words when I recently bumped into a heated online discussion pitting women who saw no problem with the men holding their daughters on their laps against those that considered it inappropriate; an abomination even.
The argument was that as much as the girl is innocent, her sitting that close to the dad’s crotch could trigger unmentionable things in the man. My heart broke into many tiny pieces.
As a dad, I was wounded even more when statistics in the comments section pointed to more women agreeing with the ‘abomination’ school of thought.
I did not leave a comment, but kept asking myself why a woman would still be married to or sharing a bed with a man she cannot trust around the daughter.
I am not oblivious of the fact that there exist men who are perverts, very many at that, but something in a normal man changes when it is his own daughter in the picture.
As a matter of fact, a dad is the first ever man a daughter encounters growing up, and the bond between the two tends to border more on protection rather than anything sexual.
I’ll tell you that even the worst dad tries his best to behave decently before his young girl because the man always knows that in him the daughter sees trust and a yardstick that will to a large extend guide her choice of partner in the future.
The spanner in the works is that when men get so close to the daughters some mothers get jitters, then when they keep away the same women shout loudest how the men in their lives have abdicated on their roles.
It is always a tight rope for fathers. If the child I am raising now was a girl I would still bathe, wipe and dress her without raising an iota of sexual thoughts in my mind.
There is so much power in the word ‘DAUGHTER’. I think most women underestimate the strength of the bond that exists between a man and his little girl, yet it is one of the purest forms of real genuine love a girl receives from a member of the opposite sex, probably never replicated even by the man she dates or marries later on.
A father is bound to forgive you for harming the son, but the same man would easily kill you for touching the daughter, and gladly serve time behind bars.
I agree that society has changed since those days my dad showered affection on my siblings and kissed them goodnight, but we need to have a conversation with our womenfolk about trusting our female children with us, the fathers.
Most men would not mess up their daughters, even when drunk.
It takes a demented man to have perverted thoughts towards his own daughter, and you shouldn’t be sharing a roof with him if he is of questionable character anyway. Walk out on that man if you believe he is that lethal.
So if, as a woman, you find yourself thinking twice about your man being close to the little girl, please interrogate your background followed by your choice of man, because it could actually be you that is of toxic min*.