There is a game we play in our house before bedtime called "Fight on the Bed", and it will forever have a very special place in my heart.
My third daughter was very attached to her mother for the first two years of her life, and during that time she really didn't care for me at all. For some reason, we had a hard time connecting. She always wanted to be like Mommy, and be with Mommy. We didn't have any activities that we really shared. There was just not a lot there, and I wasn't happy about it.
I wasn't prepared to let the situation be. I wanted to find something that we could do together. I had read a book years ago that included a suggested list of things for Daddys to do with their kids. One idea that stuck out in my mind was "wrestling". My two older girls had never seemed to have any interest in that kind of play, but I figures that I would give it a try.
I started hesitatingly at first. She was so little (just 24 months), and I am such a big man, I didn't want to accidentally hurt her. And, in all honesty, it was a little wierd because we had such a distanced relationship before. But we both took to it like ducks in water. She was tough, and spirited, and refused to back down. And she was so smart, she already had such a vocabulary. She would take on a "tough guy" pose and scream out movie quotes as a challenge.
"You want a piece of me?"
"Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya?"
We would swing at each other with pillows, then she would put on her "War Face" (another movie quote) and charge at me, and I would let her push me over and jump on my back.
Every night before bed, she got some special time with Daddy to play a game that she dubbed "Fight on the Bed". And from then on, we had as close a relationship as any father and daughter I have ever met. As the years have passed, the other kids have joined in as well, especially my son. In fact with him the game could really be called "Fight the Daddy, Wherever He May Happen to Be Right Now." But it is still special when I play with my third daughter, now 5 years old. It was the spark that lit our very special relationship, and for that I will be grateful every single day for the rest of my life.