Urban dictionary tells me
that a daddy’s girl is spoiled, bossy,
a total bratt.
I wouldn’t consider myself any of that.
But I do know that my father is the strongest and toughest and kindest man I’ve ever met, and I wouldn’t consider him anything less than my best friend.
So yes, I am a daddy’s girl.
My Father never told me I was bossy.
He never told me my convictions were like sandpaper to the ears of men
-instead he celebrated me as Xena: warrior princess
gave me make believe kingdoms to reign and handmade weapons to yield
My father never told me to be quiet, to stop my voice from being heard,
he never told me that I held my opinions like a battle shield in front of me
He never told me to surrender.
My father never told me I was wrong, he never silenced me.
Instead he lifted me onto his shoulders and became my podium:
he taught me to express what often left me feeling ashamed of my feelings, my brazenness
to hold my conviction close to my heart
like diamond ribcages.
My father treated me like my bones were made of emeralds.
He taught me to respect my opinions above all else, even when they shifted like waves
He told me I was brave.
and to this day
I believe him.
My father didn’t tell me I was pretty, but he called me beautiful when I needed to hear it
And there were so many times I needed to hear it.
But I never needed it
as much as I needed validation and bedtime stories and someone to look for fairies in the forest with
Instead of beauty my father celebrated my intelligence, my creativity, and my kindness
He taught me that mirrors are one dimensional and scales cannot measure your capacity to love or your willingness to learn
He taught me that value is not derived by the formula of the university gpa scale, and that success is not measured by salary
that these things are intrinsically linked with your ability to hold hands with your grandmother
to spend hours immersed in other worlds mapped on crinkled paper
He used to fall asleep reading harry potter to me,
my father built within me a love of reading before I could even read
thus expanding my personality beyond little pink dresses and barbie dolls
My father always answered when I called
from twisted sheets of nightmares
at 3 in the morning
and When my father built my brother swords, he also built them for me, because real princesses don’t need rescuing.
He built me bookshelves to house my growing mind, and never left my passions behind
lugging suitcases of books for me on family vacations
my father never treated me like property to be handed to my future husband, he never treated me like an antique ivory hairbrush to be passed down through generations
he treated me like a human being
-never lectured me about purity or about staying quiet at the dinner table
he told me to never stop searching
never stop smiling
to never stop creating things
My father named me after a dream he had wherein he was a gaelic warrior restoring peace from atop a hillside,
and so my father raised me to be a lioness with the heart of a nightingale
My father never mentioned christina aguilera or britney spears
but he taught me about ann frank and how to look up to women who left nail marks sealed onto the earth years after their fingerprints faded
My father wandered london graveyards with me at midnight when I was only 12 years old.
We got chased out of the templar church by a recently awoken security guard
and he bought me a cheap teddy bear to always remember
the way the murky rain fell
and the wind in our faces on the winding rickshaws
he Introduced me to lattes and che guevara on a family vacation to las vegas when I was 13
and was proud of his dreadlocked, 14 year old daughter.
These days, my father doesn’t need to go looking for magic under toadstools with me
He doesn’t need to prescribe history books as antibiotics for panic attacks
he doesn’t need to remind me i don’t need rescuing
because he taught me that I’m not rapunzel, I am the steadfast, stone tower. He taught me that magic is real, but that it flows in rainbows under my skin
he taught me that I don’t need to be thin
or have perfect skin
to be loved
and to love myself above all else
he taught me that my mind is a giant bookshelf of handwritten histories,
and that mysteries make life all that much better.
One sunday a year is not enough to celebrate my father, and all that he’s taught me.
so today I’m wishing that I could recite this in person
every single morning as he pours his coffee and turns on the news
because he deserves that.
And as his daughter, I’m afraid sometimes I fall short,
But i hope he knows that I won’t always be his little girl
because he’s made me into a woman
that I hope he’s proud of
because I’m proud to be his daughter.