I have been a father for almost 20 years now. It is a role that I do not take lightly. I have spent most of that time raising two amazing sons. Almost two years ago, I became a “Girl Dad” when my daughter was born.
Raising a daughter is VERY different from raising sons. For one thing, you “rough house” a little less. You are more careful about everything. It is totally a different way of parenting, sort of. The lessons you teach your daughter are a bit different than the ones you teach your sons. With boys, you teach them to become men. With girls, as a dad, you protect them. In a way, they learn a bit more from mom about how to become a woman.
I got a bit emotional on my way into work tonight as I thought about just how fast she is growing up. She’s not wearing so many “onsies” anymore. She’s now wearing T-shirts and blue jeans! And crocks! Sam bought her the cutest pair of crocks. When I came home this morning, she was dressed to go to the doctor for her ear surgery follow up. As I looked at her, she no longer was that little baby girl, she seemed to be 5 years old!
They say when you have kids, you begin to realize just how fast time flies, because they are always growing and before you know it, they are 18! I’ve witnessed this first hand with my boys, and now with my daughter. I see her pictures from just one year ago in my Facebook memories and think, “How was she ever that small?” and “When did she get so big?!” I feel like I am being cliché when I say that I wish I had a pause button to slow things down.
Today is National Daughters Day. As I sit here and think about how lucky I am to have Ella as my daughter, there are some things that I want written down. Things that I think it is important for her to know. So here goes:
I love you with all that I am!
I’m crazy about you, sweetheart! You have filled my life with more things that I can ever tell you. Each day I love you more and more. With each new thing you do, you give me another reason to love you.
I believe in you!
I know deep down that you will be an amazing young woman. You are smart. You are inquisitive. You don’t give up. You will make a difference in the world. I am behind you 100%!
I think you are beautiful.
Look at you! Your beauty, your smile and your laughter light up the room – and the world! You are beautiful inside and out. Use your beauty to share love and kindness.
You changed me.
Ella, the day you were born, my whole life changed. I felt things I never knew I would. Holding you for the first time, brought me to tears. They were happy tears! For nine months, your mommy and I prayed for you every day. We continue to do so. We wondered what you’d look like. We wondered about what your personality would be like. We wondered and speculated about so many things. You have exceeded all we could have ever imagined! All because of you, I love your mommy 100 times more than I ever thought I could. You have made me a better dad, a better husband, and a better man.
No matter what – you can ALWAYS come to me.
As you get older, you will have many questions. You will have to make difficult decisions. No matter what you are facing, you can trust me. You can tell me anything. Nothing that you are dealing with will ever make me stop loving you. Know that whatever you are going through, I will help you get through it. You can always talk to me and I will always be there to help you.
My sweet Ella, Happy Daughters Day! In closing, let me share some things that over the past year or so I have copied and hoped to maybe share in a scrapbook or a letter. Now is as good a time as any to put a couple of them in one place. I hope one day, you can read these words and know that they express the things your daddy just couldn’t put into words…..
A Father Loves a Daughter – Kristen Rose
A father loves a daughter
Like no other love on earth.
From the day that he first meets her
Nothing can compare her worth.
Forever are they bonded
With a love that never fails.
For always he will hug her
And kiss goodnight with fairy tales.
He will love her and protect her
With strong arms just in case
But will also hug her tenderly
With a fatherly embrace.
Eskimo kisses touch her nose
With a giggle and a squeeze
And that sparkle in her little eyes
Could bring him to his knees.
What more could any father want
Than a daughter so sweet and pure
There’s nothing in this world so rare
Of that he can be sure.
A father’s love is so unique
It cannot be replaced
He will always treasure times with her
And the memories embraced.
Daughter – Author unknown
A daughter is a wonderful blessing,
A treasure from above.
She’s laughter, warmth and special charm,
She’s thoughtfulness and love.
A daughter brings a special joy,
That comes from deep inside.
And as she grows to adulthood,
She fills your heart with pride.
With every year that passes,
She’s more special than before.
Through every stage, through every age,
You love her even more.
No words can describe the warm memories,
The pride and gratitude, too.
That comes from having a daughter,
To love and to cherish… just like you!
I love you, Ella. Thank you for being YOU! Thank you for being the most amazing daughter a daddy could ever have.