A Letter to My Daughter from a New Dad on His First Father’s Day
I am writing this letter to you one day shy of you turning 4 months old and three days shy of my first Father’s Day as a father. I never really knew what it meant to be a father until now. You have changed my world and my life, all for the better. I love you more than anything in this world (besides your mother). I wanted to tell you how you have changed me and made me better.
I will never forget the day Mommy and I found out we were going to have you. I was so happy, scared, excited, ready, and unprepared all at the same time. I never really thought I would be a Daddy before then, but that day changed my life forever. I had no idea how much my life was about to change. Your Mommy was special in that she was a high risk pregnancy because of her heart condition. My job was to take good care of her and of you while you were inside her. We didn’t know you were a girl until about halfway through the pregnancy. I always suspected it, though. I had a hunch that I would have a little girl someday, and that someday was about to arrive. I remember hearing your heartbeat for the very first time. It was one of the most beautiful sounds I have ever heard, although I was about to hear the most beautiful sound soon. Mommy and I had our scares but you always managed to pass all your tests just fine, with flying colors. As you got bigger, I would put my hand on Mommy’s tummy and read books to you. You must have liked that because you always seemed to kick and move when I did that. It made me happy every time I got to feel you move and kick. I could not wait to meet you.
February 15, 2012. That is a day I will never forget and was the second happiest day of my life. That is the day you arrived into our world. Mommy and I woke up that morning and we were very excited to meet you in just a few short hours. We packed our clothes and the car with all of the stuff we needed for you. I remember looking around the house before we left and thinking to myself, “We are leaving as two people but the next time we come home, there will be three of us.” We got to the hospital and the nurse began to prep Mommy. Both Mommy and Daddy were nervous, but oddly calm. I was ready to finally meet my little girl. I could not wait to hold you, hug you, kiss you, and love you. Soon it was time. Mommy had to go back to the operating room without me, at first, to get the anesthesia. I was really nervous and the half hour it took to prep Mommy seemed like forever to me. Finally, the medical student came to get me. I went into the room and saw Mommy on the table. The doctor was ready to bring you into our world. I could not wait. After about 15 minutes or so, you were born! The doctor said, “Hey, she kicked me!” when he got you out of Mommy. You were a fighter from the start!
Then, I heard it. The most beautiful sound I will ever hear. Your voice. You were crying and that cry is the single most beautiful sound I have ever heard! You made it! After about 5 minutes, the nurses brought you over to me. They asked me, “Do you want to hold your daughter?” Of course, I said, “Yes!” immediately! They put you in my arms and I held you for the very first time. Thankfully, one of the doctors was able to capture this moment forever in a picture. This is hands down, my favorite picture. It is the moment I first held you, first saw you, first hugged you, and first introduced myself to you. There is no way to describe the joy I felt right at this moment. I was the happiest person alive and I could not be more proud to be holding my little girl.
I have never believed in love at first sight. Even the first time I met Mommy, I didn’t feel love. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked her, but it took time for me to love her. But, there is no question that I loved you at first sight. I knew the second the nurse put you in my arms that I loved you and that I was always going to be there for you. I would and will do anything for you. I then introduced you to Mommy. She cried when she first saw you and I know she felt the same love I felt. She told me how beautiful you were. I didn’t want to let go, but the nurse had to take you back to do all kinds of stuff to you. I almost didn’t let go, but I knew they needed to do that stuff to keep you healthy.
After the surgery, I stayed with you and Mommy the entire time you were in the hospital. That was three long days. The first night, Mommy really couldn’t get out of bed or do much because of the surgery. So, I took care of you. I had no idea what I was doing, but something just kicked in for me. It was like instinct had taken over and I just did what I needed to do. Whether it was feeding you, changing you, wrapping you up, or just holding you. I did it because I loved you. I knew you were mine. We finally went home three days later. I will not forget that first car ride with you in the back seat. I was driving so carefully. I was going slow and avoiding every bump. I wanted to make sure you were safe. We brought you home and I showed you around the house. You seemed to like it, but you were also hungry and tired. It was an adventure when we first brought you home, but it is one I would certainly take all over again. See, Daddy likes to figure out how things work and you were something new. I wanted to figure out how you work.
Mommy and I have learned a lot along the way. We went from guessing at everything to knowing your cries and what you need. You are only four months old, and already I have watched you grow from this tiny newborn into a beautiful, healthy little girl. You have taught me so much along the way. You have taught me what it really means to be a father. These are the promises I make to you as your father….
1. I will always be there for you, no matter what.
2. I will always love you, unconditionally, and without hesitation. (Even if you say you hate me when you are a teenager, and believe me, you will say that).
3. I will do my best to protect you from evil. I will teach you that good always wins.
4. I will make sure you have the best shot at an education and help you learn as much as you can. (Hint: You can never learn too much.)
5. I will show you how, by example, a good man treats a woman by the way I treat your Mom.
6. That I will always have your best interest at heart.
7. I promise to let you spread your wings and learn to fly. It may be hard on me to let you gain independence, but it is one of the most important things I can do for you.
8. I promise to always know when to give you a hug. That promise sticks when you are an adult, too, you know…
9. I will make sure you know that you can do whatever you want to do and be whatever you want to be. There is nothing you can’t do and I want to make sure you know that anyone who tells you there is, is flat out wrong.
10. I promise that no matter how much someone breaks your heart; you will not die of sadness. You may think that at the time, but trust me; you will move on and become stronger for it.
11. I promise to teach you how to grow into a strong woman. Mommy is a great example and I encourage you to be like her.
12. I promise that I will try my best to not get mad at you, but rather, to turn something you may have done wrong into a moment to teach you the right way.
13. I promise to always make you go to church. There will be times where you don’t like it, don’t see it as cool, don’t understand why you need to go, and think it is stupid. But trust me; someday you will understand why I made you go every week.
14. I promise to let you explore. Explore everything and anything you want…
15. I promise to keep you safe.
16. I promise that no matter how down and out you may seem to be, that I will show you a glimmer of light and hope.
17. I promise to let you have fun and play and be a kid.
18. I promise to let you have ice cream and pizza if Mommy is away for an evening…
19. I promise that no matter what, Mommy and I will always love each other because our love is very important for you to know.
20. And finally, I promise that when I am gone, you will still feel my love and know that I am watching over you, always.
Aubrey, I love you. You are the best part of me and Mommy and without you, our family would be incomplete. I feel like I have known you my entire life, even though I have only known you for four short months. I can’t wait to see the person into which you will grow…
T (Always your Daddy)