Rachel (my amazing 7 year old): That’s right.
Me: What do you mean, “that’s right”? I said who’s the President of China?
Me: (frustrated) Exactly what?!! WHO IS THE PRESIDENT OF CHINA?
Rachel: Yes! Hu is the President of China!
Me: THAT’S WHAT I’M ASKING YOU!!
Rachel: No, DAD! You don’t get it. The President of China’s name is Hu! Like your name is Jones. His name is Hu. H – U . . . Hu. Not W – H – O. It’s Hu. That’s his name!
Me: (proud that we got as far as we did) Honey, it’s funnier if you don’t throw that part in there.
Rachel and I have been working on our comedy routine since she was three. Still needs some fine tuning but there’s talk of an HBO special. It’s one of the things we love to do on a Daddy-Daughter Date and Daddy-Daughter Dates are one of my favorite things in the world. It’s not just because she’s a cheap date (although that doesn’t hurt). I love DDD’s because at 7, she loves them even more than I do. I’ve heard the rumors about what happens to kids when they become teenagers and as of right now Rachel is forbidden to turn 13. For now I’m marinating in the fact that she still thinks I’m cool . . . and funny . . . and would choose me over any guy in the world (unless he had a DSI [Google it if you don’t know] and hey . . . fair enough).
You rarely see an affectionate Daddy Daughter relationship in China. Father’s love their girls but it’s just not very mainstream Chinese culture to show affection or encouragement once they pass the toddling stage. That’s why I have so much respect for my good friend Yu Lao Shi (Teacher Yu). He crushes the mold of the Chinese father stereotype. His only daughter just started college this year and more than any Chinese father I have met he is not afraid to let her know that she is his pride and joy. He’s not sappy sweet or big on PDA and as far as I know they don’t yet have a comedy routine but when I told him I take Rachel on dates he couldn’t wait to go ask his daughter out. It must be working because when she comes home from school she wants to hang out with him which coincidentally is my greatest hope for Rachel. Scratch that . . . would be my greatest hope if I had any intention of ever letting her leave the house.
The beautiful side-note is that Teacher Yu is impacting Chinese parents and families in a way that both affirms and transcends culture. He challenges them to look beyond what feels natural and love their kids openly and vulnerably . . . and they do. Pretty cool guy. Just ask his daughter.
So here’s our new routine . . .
Rachel: Hey dad, who’s your favorite dad in China?
Me: You mean besides me?
Rachel: Of course besides you.
Me: No Yu.
Rachel: That’s what I said . . . me?
Me: No, not You. Yu.
Rachel: I’m not a dad!! WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE DAD IN CHINA?!
Me: No. He’s the president. Yu is my favorite dad in China.
Rachel: I IS?!
Me: No. Yu is.
Rachel: Oh . . . I get it. Yu is his name huh?