Dear 25 year old Nathan,

Regarding your daughter.

It’s a simple thing, but put some thought into what nickname you give her.

Say for example, you start calling her “Lil’ Poopsy” based on her startling ability to fill diapers with the rough equivalent of her body weight on an hourly basis. This isn’t a bad nickname for a baby. But at some point it will have to be chucked out the window for the sake of her self esteem.

If you do insist on hanging onto something she finds embarrassing just because you think it is funny; you’ll deserve what you get – a daughter who doesn’t feel safe in your company and thus doesn’t seek out your company.

But “Lil Poopsy” doesn’t deserve it. She deserves to feel safe around her father.

The dad who intentionally embarrasses cannot be the same dad who is offers refuge and reassurance.

Thankfully, 25 year old Nathan, you wont be this dumb. Acacia will have dozens of nicknames which were age appropriate but haven’t been said out loud for years. This is because you’ve known too many women over years who have said “I HATE WHEN MY DAD CALLS ME THAT!” and they generally didn’t want much to do with their old man. You put two and two together. 

So nicknames wont be a negative thing for you, but why settle for not embarrassing when you could aim so much higher?  

I’m not suggesting calling her “Destiny” or “Empress”; the content of the word isn’t the crucial thing. The idea is less about choosing a name infused with deep meaning and more about choosing something sustainable. If you land on something she can hang onto for a lifetime, the cumulative infusing of depth it acquires means eventually just saying it will carry weight.

When she is 16 and you call her by same pet name you did when she was 2; something precious happens. Every time you say it aloud it floats through the air from your heart to hers carrying 14 years worth of tears, laughter, hugs, silly games, bad jokes, dance recitals, messy rooms, busy bathrooms, tea parties, fooling around on the piano, low budget movies, bunnies, and prayers.

This one might seem like a simple thing. That’s good. You should just embrace simple.

Simple. But trust me, it isn’t small.

Name her well.

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