Updated: November 5, 2012 11:28AM
Today’s column is composed of words written to my daughter, now 16. Perhaps in them are lessons, love and lifting for all daughters.
The occasion: The giving of a purity ring
Today I give you this gift. A symbol of my love as your father. On this day, the day of your eighth-grade graduation. Symbolic of your continuing transition from childhood to womanhood.
It seems like yesterday on a snowy Wednesday in Virginia that we welcomed you into this world.
And I — we — have watched you grow. Cry. Laugh. Try harder, even when lessons were hard and difficult your path: Science. Reading. Math.
But you never gave up. Always lifting your head and eyes. Never losing sight of the prize, always looking at any of your so-called disabilities as minor hurdles to be overcome by your hard work and ability.
And not only have you not failed, you have excelled. I could not be prouder of you.
I could not ask for a finer daughter. Nor one of stronger spirit. Or more beautiful.
So on this day, I give to you something that, like you, its glory will never fade. That, like you, is precious, like diamonds. And like my love for you, it is circular and never ending.
I ask you to wear it. And in wearing it, that you remember the Lord, to walk upright before Him and to keep yourself pure until that day when you will wed and another man places on your hand what I will in a few moments.
This gift to you says, “I love you.”
I will always love you.
And even should the day come when I cannot tell you so, know I love you still. And I will always be there, even in your heart.
Forever your father.
On relationships with men:
Love yourself first.
Whatever role you play in the beginning, you’ll play till the end.
Never let the emotional woman rule the intellectual woman.
Trust your gut (if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t).
Never risk all of you just to have a piece of him.
The occasion: After my having spoken too harshly
The world may not revolve around you. And as the Earth turns, and the sun rises each day, the world may not know your name.
But know that I have never seen a star shine more brightly than the girl I named Imani.
She twinkles with innocence sweet, with delight pure, with determination sure, with hope that endures. And she lights my life and world, like a morning sky.
And when she’s sad, it makes me cry. Because I know who you are deep inside. The one who fills a father’s heart with pride. With so much joy inside.
I see you work. And stand. And stick. And fight. And never quit.
And I am awed. And moved. By your amazing light. A light around which the world may not revolve. And yet a light that makes her daddy stand in awe.
And this I know: That you are a beautiful light. A sight more precious than sun and the moon and the stars.
And that in my travels across this world, that if ever there was one around whom this whole wide world might ever revolve because of who she is; because she is kind, and loving and wonderful and sweet — a daughter God made so unique —it would be you.
And this I have resolved: That our world — my world — would be so much less without you.
Because so much of my world does revolve around you. I love you.