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My 3 year old daughter, Violet stops, has an epiphany and says, ‘everybody don’t want to be sad, everybody want to be happy… and have fun!’  Ever the girly girl, she is the absolute essence of young, vulnerable beauty.

As the guy whose job (the dad job of course) it is to make sure that vulnerability is protected, it always feels, just a tiny bit, that everywhere I go with her like I am her secret service guy. She gets to laugh and twirl in oblivious innocence while I’m scanning, always scanning, in between jokes with her, for any danger. And not just the obvious kind of danger like parking lots, crowded supermarkets and kid-head-height-countertops that stick out. The secret service scanning is for not-so-obvious dangers too, like mean kids at the playground that might hurt her feelings or people in public cursing within her earshot, chipping away at her tiny, fragile innocence.

I just had one of my brides send me an email saying her fiance cut it off. It made all those dad feelings and instincts instantly activate. When I met her, she was so young, so vulnerable and so very sweet, it just breaks my heart to think that a boy could treat her so coarsely. I wanted to reach through the email and give her a hug and bark down anyone else that threatened her.

It makes me think back to when I was younger and utterly oblivious to how nuanced, delicate, and complex femininity is. I think I never really got it until my little chicken (Violet) came along and started to grow up and I got to see why girls are girls. And why girls need someone to protect them… or at least why I need to protect my girls.