Dear Daughter

There’s a lot of talk about waiting. I waited until I was 18. It didn’t feel right, before that. Do I sound holier-than-thou? I hope not. I was cautious, conservative — clueless. I had a timeline in mind, and that was it. Freshman year of college wouldn’t be so bad, I reasoned. Providing I had a boyfriend I loved (who loved me). And it wouldn’t hurt, I figured — to have a hundred-mile buffer between wherever my older brothers were and wherever we were — whenever I got what I wanted.

It happened in December. (Not a single day sooner than I’d planned.) It happened after I’d introduced him to my mom and dad, and they’d appeared to be just as taken with him as I was. It happened after he and I had talked about it. Not just in the dark, in between kisses, but also early in the morning, already in broad daylight.

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I’d covered all the bases, I’d thought. I was ready. And I lucked out — warped agenda or not, I actually was. It felt like the perfect time, the perfect place, the perfect person. I was so glad I had held out.

This is a boring story, isn’t it? I’m sure yours is much more exciting. There is an interesting part though, I think. Maybe, I don’t know — you can tell me what you think.

I’m playing the waiting game again now. I’ve been at it for a while. I’d like to think I’m a little less rigid now, but what do you know — some of my rules suggestions are still the same.

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Wait for someone who doesn’t seem quite sure how to ease his arm around you. Wait for someone who seems oddly preoccupied with your hand. (The one resting on your lap. Sweating.) Wait for someone who seems pretty content to sit thigh to thigh with you, on a bench. (Not even a particularly nice bench.)

Wait for someone who takes his time, when he does get around to leaning over. (Over, and in.) Wait for someone who will scoot you a little closer, when he decides you’re still a little farther away than he’d like. Wait for someone who can tell you the difference between “farther” and “further”, and still screws them up, anyway. (Just like you.)

Wait for someone who doesn’t come in with cool hands, when he goes to cradle your face. Wait for someone who reaches out with clammy hands. (Clumsy hands, colossal hands — there’s a lot to be said, about someone’s hands.)

Wait for someone who seems happy to fold himself into your passenger seat. Wait for someone who would never jerk a thumb towards the back. Wait for someone who turns the radio up, whenever you say I like this song. Wait for someone who listens (to the lyrics). Wait for someone who reads (between the lines).

Wait for someone who tilts your chin up, when you turn shy. Wait for someone whose eyes touch your lips. Wait for someone who finger-combs your hair, while he waits for your okay.

Wait for someone who isn’t alarmed, when you blink too fast. Wait for someone who looks away, when you want him to. (Even if he wouldn’t, if he had his way.)

Wait for someone who gives tourists directions. (With local landmarks.) Wait for someone who waves people ahead. Wait for someone who stops to kiss. (To kiss, I said. Kiss, first.)

Wait for someone who likes your hair windblown — way wilder than it was that morning. Wait for someone who likes your freckles, your fingers, your feet. Wait for someone who likes what you make. (Not because it’s any good, but because you made it.)

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Wait for someone who talks about his mom in a way you like. Wait for someone who treats his little sister like gold. Wait for someone not afraid to play dolls with his new niece.

Wait for someone who forgot to put a piece of gum in his pocket. Wait for someone who maybe-possibly hopefully did not have garlic for lunch. Wait for someone without a line, lifted from a friend of a friend.

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Wait for someone without a wrinkled photo wiggled into his wallet. Wait for someone who got the short end of the stick, one time. (Who knows how that is.) Wait for someone who will throw a dog a bone.

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Wait for someone who has a big big heart — maybe the biggest. (Not shrink-wrapped.) Wait for someone who has five thousand things to tell you. Wait for someone who wants to get to work, doing just that. Wait for someone who seems like he wants to hang out. (Who seems like he might stick around.)

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Wait for someone who could trace your smile in his sleep. (You want someone like that.) Wait for someone who has dreams — and who apparently never really debated whether or not to share them, with you. Wait for someone who listens a little harder, whenever someone says your name.

Wait for someone who wants to kiss your fingers, one by one. Wait for someone who wants to kiss you all over, everywhere. (Eyes open, eyes closed. Right side up, upside down.) Wait for someone who makes every shirt your lucky shirt.

Wait for someone who can’t unhook your back-clasp bra, with one easy flick. Wait for someone who hesitates, who fumbles, who blushes. (Who gives you plenty of time to say no.) Wait for someone who stops and starts, at your say-so. Wait for someone who laughs, baby girl. Sometimes, you just have to laugh.

Wait for someone who makes you want to double check that you’re wearing deodorant. Wait for someone who makes you think to twirl a Q-tip around the shell of your ear. Wait for someone who will show you how on earth to kiss an ear. (That’s a thing — you’ll see.)

Wait for someone who makes you forget everything you’ve seen/heard/thought/imagined. Wait for someone who makes you forget to do anything but feel.

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P.S. Did I tell you to wait for someone with good hands? He should have good hands, baby girl. Gentle hands. Just-right hands. Magic hands. You should think he’s holding it in his hands, baby girl. And he should think you’re holding it, in yours. (But cut each other a little slack, at the beginning. Okay? Help each other out, at the beginning.)

P.P.S. Don’t ask for perfect, baby girl. Ask for patient. Ask for strong, for steady, for smart. And ask me, baby girl. Ask me anything.

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