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Portland, OR
USA

I exist to help dads learn to communicate and engage with their young adult daughters.  I provide resources from my vast amounts of research and experience with dads and daughters, and this is the place where you'll find the tools you need to become the hero you've always wanted to be.

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Dear Theresa...(My Letter to a Fatherless Daughter)

Michelle Watson

Meeting you this past weekend changed me. You are extraordinary. You are courageous and fierce. You are a warrior. And at only 15 years old you are a heroine in my eyes.

Hearing your story about your dad leaving years ago and not looking back touches me deeply. I am still grieving with you and for you.

Hearing that your dad has a new girlfriend who seems to have captured his gaze rather than seeing you makes me sad with you and for you.

I’m not just sad for the here and now impact to your heart, but I’m worried that you might end up believing that you aren’t beautiful enough to capture a guy’s attention. Please don’t ever settle for anyone who makes you feel less than the exquisite gift that you are.

Hearing that your dad hasn’t called you for two birthdays in a row but that you’ve had to call him makes my heart ache with you and for you.

Hearing that your dad does things with your brother and not you leaves me feeling emotionally heavy because you are most likely internalizing a message that you are lacking, that you are not valuable, and that you aren’t worthy of his time. I hurt with you and for you.

Hearing that you and your mom now live in a homeless shelter as a result of all this, where you have to navigate public transit across vast areas of the city due to being uprooted and displaced renders me almost speechless, with an intense combination of dismay and anger. I’m overwhelmed with you and for you.

Hearing that you still long for a relationship with your dad who seems to have forgotten you brings me to tears for you.

I know you said that you stopped crying years ago. But I felt your tears deeper than your words, tucked just behind the internal valve where you shut them off awhile back. Please know that your tears are a sign that you are alive and real, that you have a precious heart that feels deep. Don’t interpret crying as a sign that you are weak and pathetic.

You, my dear, are strong and brave because you are still upright. You are strong and brave because you aren’t bitter. You are strong and brave because you get up every day and go to school and have relationships and love God and embrace people. You are strong and brave because you have dreams beyond where you are right now. Never stop dreaming!

Please know that your dad’s failure to give you what you’ve needed isn’t about you. It’s his stuff, not yours. His inability to be a father who notices you, makes time for you, pursues you, invests in you, and celebrates you is not because there is something wrong with you. Honey, it’s your dad’s own brokenness that keeps him from being a dialed-in dad.

On the darkest of days when your deepest self wants to believe the lie that you don’t matter because of the way your dad has treated you, just know there are truths beyond what you’ve experienced. These truths exist because they are rooted in the One who makes these promises and stands by them.

Your Abba Dad adores you just for being you.

Your Abba Father created you and wove you together perfectly. He knew you before you were born and He delights in you!

Your Abba Daddy calls you His own and will never, ever, for any reason, at any time in your entire life ever abandon or reject you.

Your Abba Father has your name tattooed on His hand and will always remember you by name (if you want proof of this, read Isaiah 49:16).

Your Heavenly Father loves you with a forever love and cherishes you every minute of every day. His consistent love for you will never stop.

And last, remember that you share a name with one of the most honored and respected women of all time: Mother Theresa. Her legacy remains because she brought genuine compassion to those who hurt, those who were marginalized and rejected, and those whom society deemed worthless and undesirable. Her dad died when she was only eight years old and some speculate that he was poisoned by his political enemies. I have no doubt that similar to you she experienced fear due to these intense circumstances. She too had to navigate life without her father around.

And just like your namesake, you can turn your pain into your passion. You can invest deeply out of the well that has been dug deep inside you. Your calling isn’t fully in view yet but you can change the world as your longings are funneled by love.

Theresa, you are a treasure. To me. And to your Abba Dad.

Thank you for the impact you’ve made on my life this week.  

With love, Michelle

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