Me with my girls, who are not thrilled that I used this somewhat old picture
I haven’t sat down and written you a letter in a while, so I’d thought I’d take a minute to tell you how deeply you are loved. And I’m putting it on my blog for the world to see. I’m so proud of the people you are, and that you’re continuing to become.
Watching our old home movies has really gotten me thinking this past weekend. I didn’t even want kids! You girls all know that. But from the minute Brittany was born, I was hooked on what it feels like and what it means to be the daddy of a little girl, and I was blown away to realize that Kyra coming along didn’t mean I had to love Brittany less. My capacity for love just increased. Then it increased again when Anna was born. Then it stopped increasing because – well, because mom and I made darn sure of it. [Read on, girls. No more yuckies.]
So what does being a little girl’s daddy mean? It means that no matter how bad you screw up, you’re still someone’s hero. It means that even when you’ve acted shamefully, forgiveness is there before you even ask. It means kisses and cuddles that come without strings, without condition, without limit, and without asking – they’re just there. Always. It means people who are heartbroken when I leave town, who sleep a little less and a little lighter, who ask mom a hundred times a day when I’m coming home. (She reassures them, despite the fact that she’s sleeping less and lighter too). It means still hearing those voices when I return – voices that have changed but that are still music to my ears. “Daddy’s home!”
It means having a chance to set the standard for who you will one day fall in love with and marry, showing you what it means to be cherished and treasured. It means loving you enough to not give you everything you want. It means going to sleep at night knowing that no matter how bad my day has been, all is right with the world, because three little bodies are safe in their beds. It means seeing you emerge from your room in the morning, hair every which way, a rosy blush on your cheeks, and taking a mental snapshot, hoping I will be able to replay it every day after you’re gone, and already knowing it’s one of the things I am going to miss the most. It means sitting next to you at night talking about your day and hearing what’s up in your worlds. It means being the one you come to when your heart gets broken, and the one who reassures you a thousand times a day that you are (empirically, in point of fact) beautiful. It means looking at your mom and being astonished at what she and I have accomplished together, knowing we’ve tried hard to be good parents but let’s face it – we weren’t good enough to account for any of you.
It means learning to weep, which I don’t remember ever doing until I became a daddy. Now I get teary-eyed every day, because of something you did, or said, or a memory of you, or just thinking of you in a certain way. It means marveling over Brittany’s determination to ring what she wants out of life, standing awestruck by Kyra’s intelligence and style, and not only loving Anna’s wit and wisdom, but being humbled at the way she is always truly happy for the accomplishments of her older sisters. It means not having to ever try to love you, because I find I just can’t help it. It means coming to understand just a tiny bit of how God our Father must love us, realizing this is not only love I give, but love I am privileged to receive as well.
One day it will mean walking you down an aisle and placing your hand in the hand of another man. And though when I think about that now I can hardly breathe, I know I will continue to find that ultimately, no matter how much I struggle with the fact that you are growing up and in some ways I am losing you just a little bit every day, I live for your happiness and well-being. I know that on that day I will suck it up, put your hand in the hand of that man, then find a way to perform your wedding. That is what will make you happy, and so I will find a way to make it happen.
I am your biggest fan. It is not that in my eyes you can do no wrong. Nobody’s perfect. But there is nothing you can do – not now, not ever – that will cause me to love you less – not even a little bit. You have changed my life with your gracious love that pours out of you every day. I feel like I do not deserve it, but also like I want to be the kind of person who does. And whether I deserve it or not, I thank God for it constantly.
You are to me, in the simple words of Rod Stewart, forever young. You are my girls and you will always be. I am proud of you beyond words, even beyond the 900 of them I have written here so far. I know the shortest way to summarize these words is with the much simpler, “I love you.” And I do. But maybe now when I tell you that, you’ll have some idea what it means to me.
All my love —