Saturday Guest Post: Shawn Smucker – A Letter to My Daughters

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

For the next few months, I’m reserving Saturdays for reader contributions. If you would like to send in a post, a photo, or a poem, please contact me.  Today’s post comes from Shawn Smucker, who blogs over at The artwork is courtesy of my talented friend Melissa Gann Burgess, whose work you can see at


A letter to my daughters (ages 6 and 2):

Lucy and Abra,

I remember when you were born and the realization hit me: I have a daughter. A little girl. I remember how different that felt from when our son, Cade, was born - I felt so much more protective of each of you, as if you held a vulnerability not common to baby boys. This inexplicable difference seems to have carried on. When I want to show affection to Cade, I tackle him. But the two of you, I just want to hold, and hug, and protect.

Sometimes it seems unfair, this incongruity, and I know you often want to feel the wild side of your father, to be thrown in the air, to be curled up in a ball and squeezed, to run through the house as if you are being chased by a roaring lion. And so I throw you, I squeeze you, I chase you, but all along, I must admit, all that I want to do is rescue you.

I sometimes wonder if, as a man, I have anything to teach you about being a woman. What I know of womanhood is only second hand information, things gleaned from my mother or my sisters or your mother. I don't even know if I want to pass these imperfect little gems on to you. But I know some things that I do want.

I want you to be strong, in every way.I want you to live out a life that is reflective of your calling, whether that means finding a career and fighting your way to the top, or finding a husband and having seven children, or anything in between.

But mostly I want you to do what you want to do, because you want to do it. I don't want you to avoid motherhood because the world makes it seem like the irresponsible choice. I don't want you to avoid a successful career, just because the church tries to pin the Proverbs 31 tag on you.

If you are determined to play football, then I will teach you how to tackle. If you want to play baseball, I will teach you how to throw a curve. If you want to play soccer with the boys, then I'll show you how to leave them frozen in space. And if you are set on playing with your dolls, and want me to join in, then I will pretend to cry and let you put me to bed.

I want you to be. However that looks. Whatever that means.

You are my girls. Some day you will be women. That is a special, special thing.

Your Dad

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