"We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention."
- - Gordon B. Hinckley
October 16, 2014
Rules for Dating My Daughter
by Hannah Bird

I read a list last week entitled “Rules for Dating my Daughter.” It was pretty funny. I have read similar lists. They generally reference feats of strength and a dad who is not afraid of jail. There is even an earworm of a top forty song whining about a rude dad.

My husband are I are the proud parents of four daughters. We also have two sons, several guns and a whole lot of acreage for hiding bodies. But we have no list of rules for dating our daughters.

If you show up to date my daughter all I have to say to you is “Good luck, little buddy. If you need band-aids or a ride home, let me know.“

I have no feats of strength that must be accomplished.

I will not be threatening your health or well being. As long as she smiles at you I will too.

I don’t need to threaten you to make my daughter safe with you.

She can throw a steer. She can hop around on pointe shoes for seven hours a day. She can buck a literal ton of hay in an hour or two. She can swing an axe and land it. She splits wood and carries it.

Also she knows how to castrate things. You’ll keep your hands to agreed upon areas or you won't, and thusly you will either keep your hands or you won't.

I would give my life to protect her. But her body is hers. If you attempt to violate it, your first problem will be the fact that she is tougher than you. Your second problem will be that she is more tenacious than kudzu. My husband and I are so far down on the list of bad things that will happen that it hardly bears mentioning.

She knows about good men. She has been loved by them all her life. Her daddy thinks she is the best thing that ever happened. She is the apple of her grandpa’s eye.

She has watched them. She knows what good men do. She has uncles that she adores and that adore her. She has watched them too. She knows what she is looking for. You can live up to her standard or you can pound sand. But you cannot pretend. She has seen the real article.

She knows about bad men too. When she was a little girl, she stuffed envelopes for weeks to change child sex abuse laws in our state. She knows about people who hurt. She has seen the damage. She understands the tricks. She has fought evil anywhere she has found it since she was small.

She comes from a long and glorious line of troublesome women. I have never once in my life minced a single word. I say what I think. I know how to fight. I know how to win. But I am just the beginning.

Her grandmother is a world wanderer. Grandma retired and move to the Middle East to improve educational opportunities for women. Her aunts are bastions of goodness and unmovable fire. They are all so different but strong, bone deep. They are driven and fierce and wild. She has great aunts that hold up the world. She has beautiful cousins who sing opera and break horses. She will find her own wild wonder.

She has her own sense of self. She knows who she is. She knows what she does well. She knows what she does not. And she is fine being different. She loves business law/studying the decomposition of human bodies/living in the wilderness/wearing 1930’s outfits with combat boots.

She is not trying to be anything. She is being. She is not dating in hopes of getting an identity or finding her place. She’s known all her life.

She has her own moral compass. She has never had a curfew. Not once. We never gave her one because it was pointless. She comes home when she is ready to be home. It has always been earlier than we would have asked her to come home. Her standards are hers. We support her in them but they do not come from us.

She is loved. She is loved. She is loved by so many.

She knows.

I am happy to meet you. You must be worth meeting or she wouldn’t bother. You will be worth knowing or we won’t. I apologize in advance for my obnoxious dogs. I hope you feel comfortable in my home. She will be challenge enough.

Have a lovely time. I’ll go on up to bed before you get here. She’ll come sit on my bed and tell me all about it when she gets home. We can resist the urge to clean our guns when you are here. We will not threaten or embarrass you.

She is the highest bar we could set.

There will be no country songs or rules for dating our daughters -- for you.

There are rules for dating our amazing daughters. They are written deep down in the center of them.

You’re welcome.


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About Hannah Bird

I am me. I live at my house with my husband and kids. Mostly because I have found that people get really touchy if you try to live at their house. Even after you explain that their towels are fluffier and none of the cheddar in their fridge is green.

I teach Relief Society and most of the sisters in the ward are still nice enough to come.

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