This month your father and I will be married 20 years. You don’t know it yet, but you have the best dad in the world. You won’t know it for a while because he’s all you have ever known. You have nothing else to compare him to. You don’t know what it is like to NOT be the center of someone’s world. One day you will know it though, probably when you have kids of your own. But for now, because he’s all you’ve ever known, I’m here to tell you that you have the best dad in the world.
You don’t know it yet, but your dad loved you before you were born. He truly did. He would delight in feeling you kick inside my belly. He planned and worried before he even met you. Then one day he did meet you and that was the day that I lost him a little. Before you came along I was the love of his life but the minute you were born, the minute he held you both, I saw him fall in love unlike any other love I’ve seen him experience, and you know what?
That is exactly how it should be.
You don’t know it yet, but your dad checked on you at least three times a night when you were a baby. And now that you are both 14, and 8 respectively…guess what? He still does. He constantly would go into your crib and put his hand on your chest to feel you breathe.
He delighted in everything you did as a baby. He loved to make you giggle and to pretend to make you fly. He’d laugh when you tried to walk and would fall. He marveled at every milestone, word, giggle, funny face. You have fallen asleep in your dad’s arms more than anyone on this earth. His favorite thing to do was have you girls fall asleep on his chest. His favorite thing to do now is snuggle with you girls until you fall asleep although those moments are becoming few and far between.
You don’t know it yet, but your dad has planned your education from the day you were born. He made it his mission to teach you both to be trilingual. He has spent countless hours sitting with you and teaching you how to read, write and speak Spanish and French. He expects you to be educated and excel. He’s spent countless hours reading you books, taking you on study dates, talking to teachers, assigning you extra homework, expanding your hearts and minds to different arts and cultures. He expects it because he sees nothing but potential and brilliance in both of you.
You don’t know it yet, but the saddest moments in your dad’s life have been when you were sick, or hurting, whether physically or through little heartbreaks. He aches when a child is mean to you, when you get a shot, when you have been in the hospital, when a pet dies. You don’t know it yet, but when your dad sees some tragic, unimaginable, event on the news, he becomes immobilized with sorrow and fear. Not only because he feels sadness for the people the situation effects, but because he imagines what it would be like if something like that happened to you. It would paralyze him. He wakes up each day to protect and provide for you both.
You don’t know it yet, but your dad would give his life for you.
You don’t know it yet but when your dad sees a teenage girl with makeup or a short skirt out with a teenage boy, he furrows his brow and frowns. Only I notice it, but I know what he is thinking. He’s thinking “I was a teenage boy…and my girls are going to be teenage girls….and this does NOT make me happy.” You see there will never be a boy good enough for either of you. You don’t know it yet, but your dad cannot possibly comprehend that there is a human being on this planet that could possibly be good enough for you. It is just not in his realm of thinking. There is no person good enough. You are going to hate him for that some days. You will fight and think it unfair, but that will pass. You don’t know it yet, but he is going to do what he does when you are teenagers because he loves you. He will accept the man you chose, because I have no doubt you will chose someone like him.
You don’t know it yet, but your dad has taught you how a man should treat a woman by the way he treats me.
Your dad has never said a disparaging word to me. Even when he is angry with me, he does not indicate any of those feelings in front of you. He has never allowed either of you to ever be disrespectful to me. He won’t allow it. You don’t know it yet, but your dad has taught you what to look for in a husband some day. He has modeled how a man should respect a woman and value the mother of his children.
You don’t know it yet, but your dad will someday hand you the car keys, watch you walk down the stairs in your prom dress, head off to college, and walk down the aisle. In those moments his heart will break.
You don’t know it yet, but your dad will watch you bring your own children into the world. He will love them before they are born. You will hand your baby over to him someday and see him fall in love the way he fell in love with you, and that will be the day that you lose him a little. Before your babies come along you will be the loves of his life, but the minute your children are born, the minute he holds them in his arms, you will see him fall in love unlike any other love you’ve seen him experience, and you know what? That is exactly how it should be.
You don’t know it yet, but you will lose your dad someday. But you won’t really lose him because you will be exceptional young women who have become that way because of him. You will be kind, patient, educated, funny, tolerant, respectful young women who owe all of that to the wonderful man you had as your father.
You don’t know it yet, but you have the best dad in the world. You will figure it out someday, probably many years from now. I just ask one thing from you and that is when you do finally know for sure, please tell him. He expects nothing from either of you because loving you is his honor, but it will sure be nice for him to hear it.