For my daughter

Dear Evelyn,

Four years ago, I wrote a long list of advice to your brother. That’s all still good advice, so take it.

You’d think after four years, I’d have learned something as a father, and would have all sorts of new things to say or whatever. But mostly, I’m just very tired. So very, very tired.

I could be all trite and tell you how I love you just as much as I love your brother. But the truth is, I don’t know you yet. You don’t know you yet. It’s reasonable to say that I love you the same as I love him, because I don’t love him the same today as I did when he was born. He’s not the same person he was four years ago, I’m not the same person I was four years ago. And you won’t be the same person four years from now. So I’ll say instead that, just like I love him the best way I can, I love you the best way I can. That’s how love works. It’s not like you use it all up or anything.

Your life is going to be different from mine in ways I’ll never completely understand. We won’t understand each other a lot. I guess that’s something I learned over the past four years. Like how you’ll never think of TV as temporal, and you’ll never have to wait for the library to open on Monday before you can find out the answer to a question about the world or the past, and you’ll barely even comprehend what a “phone number” is, and I’ll never know what it’s like to earn seventy-five cents on the dollar. That kind of stuff.

Look, anyway, read that stuff I wrote for Dylan when you get the chance. But before that, above that, just remember not to hurt other people if you can avoid it, and remember to never, never let anyone tell you that you’re not good enough, that you’re not strong enough, that you’re not tough enough, that you’re any less of a person, that there’s anything “just” about being a girl. Be the best you that you know how to be. And if you don’t like being that, then figure out someone else to be and be that instead. And I might treat you differently from the way I treat your brother, because you’ll be a different person with different needs, but if you ever catch me treating you worse, you go and call me out on it.

Because I love you, and I am proud of you, and I have faith in you. You got this. You are going to be amazing.

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