My friend, Don Blackwell, shares a similar passion to mine in that he loves inspiring dads to intentionally engage with their daughters. Today I am honored to have him share this guest blog, a letter he’s written from the vantage point of a young woman who wants her dad to hear the deep longings of her heart.
To set the stage for what you’re about to read, I want you to hear—in Don’s own words—
his motivation as a dad who seeks to champions other fathers with daughters.
“Michelle, thanks for sharing my post with your audience. I hope it will encourage dads to explore letter writing as a means of reaching their daughters’ hearts. I’m a BIG believer in letters, cards, and notes left in backpacks, on breakfast plates, under pillows, etc. As important as heart-to-heart conversations are, spoken words too often dissipate in the air and lack staying power. Written words – of affirmation, apology, encouragement, etc. – are permanent. Daughters can keep them (most do) and keep referring back to them when they need them most.
I’ve had the privilege of listening to the hurting hearts of countless women – young and not-so-young – over the past decade. Many have been ravaged by eating disorders. All share one thing in common: Their desire to know that they are loved by their dad – unconditionally – and that he is proud of them. This letter was the result of a late night text message exchange with a incredible young woman who wasn’t sure of either.”
I’m not sure how I got to this very dark place.
And I’m even less sure how to navigate my way out of it.
I’m also not sure why I feel so worthless, like such a burden and so alone.
And I’m even less sure how to go about ridding myself of these feelings.
What I AM sure of, however, is how much I need you tonight.
I need a strong shoulder to cry on.
I need a voice I can trust to tell me everything’s going to be alright.
I need reassurance that the sun will come up tomorrow.
I need to be reminded that I’m good enough – “AS IS”.
I need a heart so filled with love that it has no space to be ashamed of me.
I need to know that, despite all that’s happened, I’m not a disappointment.
I need someone to check “under my grown up bed” and in the closet – the way you once did when I was a child and tell me it’s safe for me to go sleep.
I need to know I’m someone’s pride and joy – your pride and joy.
I need someone who will listen without judging me.
I need to know that I’m loved and that I matter.
I need you to show me the truth about me – again and again and again – until I can see it myself.
I need YOU, Dad.
I need you to hold hope for me.
I need you to light the way, to take my hand and walk with me out of this darkness.
I need to know I’m not alone in this fight.
~Your 22-Year-Old “Little Girl”
Don Blackwell is the dad of two adult children, Ashley and Greg, and a trial attorney at Bowman and Brooke, LLP in Dallas, Texas.
He also is the author of “Dear Ashley . . .” – A Father’s Reflections and Letters to His Daughter on Life, Love, and Hope and an avid blogger.
Don can be found on Twitter and Instagram @donblackwell4.