Tuesday, April 04, 2006

To My Daughter As She Turns One


Now that we've had our first year together, you should know how much you mean to me, and how much I love you. I hope you feel it every day when I hold you, play with you, feed you, sing to you or do anything else with you, but I want to write it down, too.

I was always scared of babies until you came along, little girl. I didn't think I would ever have children, and I wasn't around them much. I thought I would have no idea what to do with a baby--how to hold it, how to interact with it, how to help it when it was hurting. But when you were born all my fear went away. Holding you is the most natural thing in the world. Playing with you is more fun than I ever imagined, and I found I can sit for hours if that's what it takes to help you feel better. You have brought out things in me that I don't think anyone (except maybe your mother) thought existed.

The joy I feel when I see you smile is so intense it's physical. The pain I feel when you are hurting is so great it scares me. The wonder I experience as I watch you discover the world seems greater than any I've ever experienced on my own. You and your mother have taken my world and wrapped it firmly around the two of you, never to be unwound. My most solemn responsibility now is to provide for my family, and I embrace that responsibility willingly and with love.

I'm looking forward to watching you grow, Nessa Boo. This is an exciting time. It seems like each day you learn something new about what you can do, and it's so much fun to watch you learn. Soon you'll be walking, and then talking, and the world will become a bigger, more exciting place for you to explore. I'm looking forward to that, but I know I'll miss these days, too--something will be lost when your world is no longer just our house and family. I'm sure that your delight in all the new things you find will make it bearable for me, but I will be a little sad. Some day the world will pull you away even more, but I don't have to think about that right now. For today you are my peanut girl, and I'm your dad, and that's all we need to be for each other.

I love your mother very much too, little girl--she is my best friend and my greatest joy. I hope you see that whenever you watch us together. But you are my greatest treasure. I had no idea that you would affect me so, but I'm so glad you have. I hope you always realize how much you mean to me, and how much I love you.

Happy Birthday, Nessa Rose!

Love, Dad

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