The Girl Shell

marriage maybeFirst Love,

I just wanted to thank you. I already hear you: for what?
Well, I don’t know how to name it exactly, but I can try to explain it.

I didn’t believe I was special back then. Not really. Okay maybe. But not special. I wasn’t exactly convinced by you, but you worked at convincing me. And that was the most important part, and I think even pivotal at that particular time in my life. Young girls are so unsure of themselves.

So here you are now—the father of girls now, one’s a teenager at that. Maybe I’m not telling you anything new, but I don’t think that dads always recognize in their daughters that their fierce ambition and independence is often a shell protecting their most compelling insecurities. You may even be like my dad, buffing that shell to a sheen. As for my dad, he was proud that his girls did not need anyone (except him of course!) and encouraged the qualities in us. That can be useful I guess, but we all need to know how and when to be vulnerable.

So what does that have to do with you, me, us back then? Well, you let me; encouraged me to shed the shell. You were patient with my insecurities when I tested your feelings and challenged your sincerity all to make myself feel better about me. I remember my antics even though at the time I didn’t think or realize they were antics. Probably you didn’t notice either. Well let’s just pretend you didn’t.

I hope your daughters’ firsts are like you. I hope they’re kind, patient, and sincere. If anything has to be different, I hope it’s that they are able to be vulnerable enough in their early romances to enjoy them and not be scared, like I was, of vulnerability. Any depth of intimacy requires it—I get that now too. And I know they won’t understand all this until they’re older, but they can at least feel it. Because it’s a good feeling. You and I know that, right?

Be well,

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