As a mom to two daughters, I’ve learned that what a daughter needs from her dad is ever evolving. But in some ways, it never really changes. The basics always stay the same.
If my girls could pen a letter to their dad in a few years, I am certain it would read something like this:
It’s me, your daughter. The same little girl you snuggled up to so closely the night I was born. The same baby you held in the palm of your hand. The one you helped learn to walk…and then run… and ride a bike.
It’s me. The one you carried on your back through Disney so I could see the fireworks just a little better. The one you pushed way too high on the swings when Mom wasn’t looking. The one who taught me how to use a hammer and a screwdriver and that a little superglue can be magic.
I know I’m getting older. I know you’ve noticed. I’ve noticed you’ve noticed. I’ve noticed you don’t reach out to hug me as much anymore. And that you look away when I mention a cute boy.
I see you begin to fidget when Mom mentions looking at bras…or shaving my legs…or even using deodorant.
I know I’m changing…I don’t fully understand it. I’m thinking I won’t until I’m much, much older.
And I know some days I’m a little harder to be around. It’s like I can’t help it lately…I want to but I can’t.
But there are some things I need you to know. Some things you need to hear from me.
I need you to look at me with the same eyes you looked at me with 12 years ago. I need you to tell me how pretty I am, how smart I am, and how much fun I am to be around.
Because if I don’t hear these words from you, I’m going to look for them from someone else. Probably not someone who will be telling me the truth.
I want you to still hug me with all your might and plant a big kiss on my cheek. I want you to help me pretend I don’t feel as awkward as I really do.
Dad, I need you to support my crazy hair, makeup and wardrobe choices. I will keep things tasteful but let’s agree that I don’t have my “style” quite nailed down. Just refer to the line above about telling me I’m beautiful.
I want you to still ask me to do stuff – just the two of us. I might fain indifference but deep down, I’m crying tears of joy. I still need that one-on-one time with you.
Dad I can’t explain it, but I may act embarrassed of you…even though you haven’t changed at all. Try to know I still love you and am incredibly proud that you’re my Dad. Just give me some time to work this out.
I also really need to see you continue to love and respect Mom the same way you have all these years. The years before now were the build up. But now…these years…these are the ones I’m really watching to see how women should be treated. Everything I learn about this is going to come from you. Keep up the good work please.
And Dad, I want to let you in on a little secret. I’m not going to know just how much you love me until many years down the road…when I am a parent myself. But for now, I have some understanding. And that will be enough.
If you can make sure I always know how much you love me and show me that no matter what I do, or how old I get, I will always ALWAYS be your little girl, we are going to be okay.
And most importantly, please remember that even though I’m changing, I REALLY need you NOT to.