By Alex Alexander
You’re doing an awesome job. Thanks for the extra-cash that one night when I was waiting for my direct deposit to clear and thanks, too, for being as horrified as I am now by the tattoo that’s forever etched on my lower back. (You were right; it’s trashy.) Thanks for helping me pay for college and for editing my resume and for telling me that my makeup didn’t match my skin-tone. (Yikes; I’ve deleted all photos from 2007.)
Keep on doing what you’re doing because you mostly get it right, but I just wanted to write you to let you know that there are a few more things I need from you (I know, I’m greedy). These are the things I find a little bit harder to say to you in person, but they’re important nonetheless as we continue this dad/daughter journey together:
1. I want you tell me I’m beautiful. It’s not weird or creepy. You’re setting the tone for how I expect future men in our life to treat me. I know you’re the strong, silent type who acknowledges his feelings through actions, not words, but please try. I seek this validation and if I don’t get it from you, I’ll spend the rest of my life searching for it.
2. I want to feel protected. Even though I act mortified when you joke about not letting me date until I’m 40, the truth is, I want to feel like a special commodity to be cherished. Which leads me to…
3. I want you to screen my potential boyfriends. TSA-style, yo. It’s not overbearing; it shows you care and that you demand perfection (or at least, an attempt at perfection) from any gentleman-caller who wants to take me out for a cocktail. But HARD PASS on showing him your gun collection; that’s just … no.
4. I love when you act sweet around Mom. As long as the PDA isn’t overly-offensive, it makes me happy to see that you’re still totally in love (and lust!) with the woman I look up to most. It makes me believe in the concept of marriage and the concept of forever, especially in a society that seems to devalue these things more and more everyday.
5. I need you to lose the fanny-pack. I’m not sure how you’ve managed to squirrel away that monstrosity away for so many years but I regret to inform you it will not be making the trip to Europe with us this year. Neither will your cell-phone holster or your Sea World t-shirt. Sorry. You gave birth to a woman who has style; trust me on this.
6. I secretly love when you tell people about my accomplishments.Again, I’ll act embarrassed when you begin reciting our resume to the Starbucks barista/air-conditioning guy/anyone who will listen, but inside: Ilove that you’re proud of me. Your validation means the world to me - and nothing makes me happier to know that I’ve done well in your eyes. That being said…
7. I need you to give me a break sometimes. I will inevitably fail, as one does, and in those moments, I need you to pick me back up, not with criticism or eyerolls or impatience, but with love. As I said in #6, I love when you’re proud of me but if your love only gleams when I’ve accomplished something, I may start to become addicted to your validation, which is unhealthy. It’s critical to let me know that you’re proud of me, no matter - the job, the boyfriend, the salary, the lifestyle choice. I need your unconditional love most.