To my darling daughter,
In my life I’ve accomplished a great many things, but by far, the greatest accomplishment I’ve achieved is you.
And my most cherished title is “Dad.” I’m so proud of everything that you are and everything you have yet to become. Your potential is limitless and as long as there is breath left in me, I will be right here as a gentle support and willing you to succeed.
I’ll never forget seeing you for the very first time.
I remember your fingers, your feet. I even saw you sucking on your tiny thumb that very first day. And when I saw you open your eyes for the very first time and gaze into the eyes of your beautiful mother, well, that was one of the most profound moments of my life. My girls.
Your childhood was the most magical time of my life. You’ve given me so many special moments that I will treasure forever. The first time you called me Dad… how you would run into my arms whenever you hurt yourself… your endless laughter at the silliest of things.
You have always valued your independence.
I remember one summer when you were three years old. Your mother and I thought we lost you at a very crowded outdoor restaurant. We panicked and were about to call the police when we found you sitting with another family member, chatting and enjoying some of their chips. I think back on this often now that you live in London. Although you are far away, I know you are living a full and exciting life (and hopefully finding some good chips).
Since then you have grown into a strong-willed, motivated, but most importantly kind person. You are a strong and intellectually driven women, much like your mother was. You are incredibly thoughtful and loyal to the people in your life, and naturally they are drawn to you. You are comfortable with complicated ideas and in complicated social settings. You can do anything you want.
You have always been funny and empathetic, with a great work ethic. Your intelligence, both deep and practical, is amazing.
Mum and I couldn’t reach you after the London Tube attacks, and because you’d been at work nearby, we were rightfully scared. Finally, after hours of waiting, your mum called to tell me that you’d been separated from your colleagues during the evacuation—because you stayed behind to help an elderly woman down nine flights of stairs. I took a deep breath and leaned back against the fridge.
You see, as a dad, sometimes I have to lean back, hoping and praying that you will be okay in this sometimes scary world. And time and again, you lean forward, showing me that you’re the independent, strong women that every dad hopes he will raise.
As we edge closer to the time when I will no longer be just a phone call away, I wanted to let you know just how very proud I am of you (just ask my friends in the care home, you’re all I talk about).
When I’m no longer around, I hope that as your father I have given you the tools that will enable you to continue to reach your goals and fulfill your dreams. I have always believed it is harder for strong women to achieve than it is for men. But that just makes strong and successful women the most interesting people in the world. I have observed this with you as you’ve matured.
I am so very lucky to have you in my life. Thank you for your limitless patience, support and love. You are the rock of my life.
Featured photo credit: Edward Muslak via flickr.com