The Father Daughter Dance

card1850l-fIn Western culture, father daughter dances seem to only take place at two points in life: when the daughter is very little and has to be held/has to step on dad’s feet or when the daughter becomes someone’s bride.  The little daughter is a perfect, special, unbelievable version of love that the father can give. The bride is the daughter that is more unknown, that is given away, that dances this one last time as an ode to a memory of long ago.

We are missing out on so much during that time in between.

Fathers satisfy daughters’ basic needs; there is food on the table, a roof over their heads, their tuition paid for, and a father is a wonderful chauffeur to get daughters to their many activities. But daughters want a deep relationship with fathers. They want a trusted bond that allows them to see their fathers’ fears, successes, mistakes and failures, their hearts, and their passions.  Daughters want encouragement and the freedom to become who they will be. All of this happens between that first dance and the last. Fathers and daughters need to dance in between.

This is a letter from us, for you.

Dads–

You guys are incredible. You’ve raised us, changed nasty diapers, caught puke in your hands, played with us, and made us laugh so hard we get hiccups. As we’ve grown into adults, our relationship to one another has changed. It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee, THAT WE ARE NOW DRINKING – BY THE WAY -, and ask us about it.

Please know that you can always ask. I hope you feel that you can always ask.

As I’ve grown older, I know I’m not “daddy’s girl” anymore. I’m the first born that’s paved the way for the others.  Daughters still crave closeness with their fathers though. We are really excited about our lives and we wish you would ask us 20 questions like you used to when we were little. Our responses may not be as cute and funny as they were then but we are deeply invested in these ones. They charm our hearts; our hobbies, our interests, what we are learning, our passions.

Somewhere between puberty and adulthood, we lost knowledge of one another. We stopped learning about one another. We quit trying to discover new things, new paths, new places. And every fight, every harsh word spoken out of unrestrained anger, impatience, and frustration feels like a wedge that is driving deeper and deeper between any semblance of recovery.

We are trying to understand who you are, who we are as individuals, and who we are as a duo. And we are trying so hard, it sometimes feels like running a race we have not trained for, just to communicate positively – neutrally – and to understand your point of view as well as communicate our own.

Please talk to us like we are your daughters because we are not your clients or your students or your coworkers. Those distant roles hurt us when we are put in them with you.

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Sometimes we only feel loved when you are proud of us or when we have done something that you approve of. But we want to give and receive unconditional love. We love you for who you are, for who you are becoming. We want you to love us for who we are, who we are becoming.

–Your daughters

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