"My life," I said, "was lonely and listless since I last left you. And now that we are together again, I am finally complete."
"Yeah, yeah ... sure," my daughter said.

"Do you think this is a good look?" I asked while positioning a tiny tiara on my head as we got out of the car to go into a store.

"Daddy so pretty," my 2-year-old chuckled.

My oldest disagreed. "Oh, my gosh dad, you cannot wear that into the store. You do not look good in princess crowns," she said.

Well, that's just a lie.

We both know that I look good in princess crowns. Could it be that I am already an embarrassment to her? She's only 5.

With a deep breath, I tossed the crown into the backseat, and I assured myself that all was well. It's all a part of growing up, right? Parents embarrass their kids. And I've seen enough sitcoms to know that efforts not to be an embarrassment will likely make things worse.

I noticed this again when I went to pick her up from a summer program. As soon as I saw her, I gave her a big hug and kiss, and I told her I missed her.

"OK," she said while pushing my head away, never making eye contact.

Her eyes darted around the room. It seemed I was less beloved father and more TV crime drama investigator pressing her for information. "Life on the streets could get very dangerous if you go blabbing to the wrong people," I suppose she'd say while flicking a cigarette into the street. "Take a hike, copper."

I looked around. No one was within earshot, and no one was watching us.

There are a few avenues I could have taken in that moment. I recall the anxiety of being in a strange place, meeting new people. As a kid, I had a thick shell and dreaded moments like those. To overcome those feelings and to discover how great it is to be out and alive is extraordinary.

And it is crushing for a parent to come bumbling in and embarrass you. I remember all of that. It's the worst. It's one of those moments where you think to yourself: When I am a parent, I will never do that to my kids.

But then I became a parent. And I did what any good parent, or TV cop, would do. I made the moment as awkward as possible.

I squeezed her cheeks.

"My life," I said, "was lonely and listless since I last left you. And now that we are together again, I am complete."

Her eyes got big. "Yeah, yeah ... sure," she said slowly pulling away as I hugged her.

After a moment, I relented.

Later in the car, I apologized for being over the top and explained how it was part of my job as a dad.

"You'll be embarrassed by me a lot in your life," I said. "But you shouldn't be embarrassed about love. Be embarrassed about what I wear or my bad jokes, but don't be embarrassed that you have a father who loves you."

"Well, OK. I'll try," she said. "But do you have to kiss and hug me when other kids are around?"

"Yes I do," I replied.

David Manley is a husband, father and an editor at The Canton Repository. Share your stories with him at david.manley@cantonrep.com and follow him on Twitter: @DaveManley.