My daughter sat with my wife and I, her little brothers in bed, and started a subject of conversation never had before… shaving legs and what not. Now as a dad, it’s easy to exit that conversation and no one would think twice, but I didn’t, nor did I want to.
At her new school her new friends are seemingly more ‘physically developed’ than she is, or so she seems to think. After she raised a couple of questions and points, I mentioned that she didn’t need to do anything, that she was beautiful and amazing, and that all she needed to do was look at the genetics from her mom (and her mother and grandmother) or my mom, and know that there’s not going to be anything to worry about on any front.
My wife smiled as I said my bit, but what honestly surprised me was the smile and “weight off the shoulders” look from my daughter. I know that these types of talks are important, and I know the effect that they can theoretically have, but to actually see it? To see it in those eyes you’ve been looking at lovingly since they first opened, it’s something else.
When my daughter went off to bed, there was that warm, loving “thanks Dad.” My wife went off with her, continuing the conversation in directions that I’m sure I’m more than happy not to participate in, at least yet 😉
It’s one thing to write about strong women, and it’s another to try one’s best to raise a strong one. To let her know about the body image battles ahead, to know that those battles have now arrived, to let her know that she is awesome and beautiful but not in a way that she can deflect, but instead a way that resonates. A way that she knows that you truly mean it… It’s about keeping in mind as many of the little things, as it is about keeping the big picture in mind.
I know I’m not doing a perfect job, and I know that “no one does”, but little moments like this make me feel like I probably got one more moment right.