To my sweet little girl pie,
Today we are celebrating your first birthday. An entire year has passed since you came into our lives. It seems like only yesterday the nurse handed me a teeny tiny baby girl and then promptly left the two of us in a room, with no adult supervision! I was bursting at the seams with joy, but equally terrified in those first few moments of your life outside the womb. Just the two of us, you in my arms, meeting each other for the first time. “Well hello there, my name is Daddy.” It was then I realized that I was the adult now, a father, your Dad. As I cradled you in my arms and gazed into your adorable, tiny little face I felt something in me change. I knew life had changed. Every decision I’ve made since that wonderful day last year has been influenced by the thought of you. You mean the whole world to me and I want to give you every single opportunity this world has to offer.
Although it seems like you were just born yesterday, those first few days as a family of three seem like a lifetime ago. It was a very hot summer – Your Mom and I spent that week hiding inside from the heat and learning how to keep you alive. You’d chuckle if you could have seen how ecstatic we were to get you to drink even half an ounce of breast milk, or the look of accomplishment on my face after successfully changing your first few diapers. I was literally keeping track of every one of your bowel movements and your feedings on paper. (You think baby photos are bad? Just wait until you’re older and I bust out your poop tracker to show to your friends.) I would count them over and over again, questioning whether you were eating enough, pooping enough, sleeping enough, etc. I would show them to your Mom and contemplate calling the doctor if I felt there hadn’t been enough pooping or enough eating. I was so nervous. Your Momma was too, but not nearly as much, or she hid it better anyway. Being a Mother came naturally to her. Since the second she held you, something in her changed too. Or maybe it changed while she was pregnant with you. Regardless of when, it has been magical to watch and to be a part of. She is the most selfless woman in the entire world and puts you first in every single second of every single day. I’m in awe of what an amazing parent she is. Truly. You should see the way she loves you, fiercely and unconditionally. You should see the way you love her! It warms my soul to see the love that you two share and you are one lucky little girl to have her as your Mom.
Nothing melts my heart more though than when you reach up to me with both arms held out to let me know you want to be picked up, then full body hug my chest while burying your chubby little face into my shoulder. It makes a calm rush over my entire being, nothing else matters. You’ve taught me to cherish each and every moment like this. Please never outgrow snuggle time!
Oh, the things we’ve learned this year! All of us. You’ve learned to crawl, to stand, to chat, to eat real food, and you’re basically walking! You’ve learned to express your likes and dislikes. You’ve learned to contort your body into unimaginable positions during diaper changes. You’ve even learned how to turn on the Xbox! You are beautiful, you are hilarious, you are stubborn, you are curious, you are loving, you’re happy, you’re intelligent, you’re strong. You’re my Daughter. I’m your Father – my greatest honor. Watching you learn, and grow, and figure things out fills me with so much pride I’m afraid I’ll pop like a balloon. I’ve learned too much to list but know that you have taught me so much in the last 12 months. I’m a better human because of you, and will strive to continue getting better, for you, and for our family.
I’m excited for all the things we’ll get to share with you as you get older and all the things that we’ll be introduced to because of you. Just try to make sure any friends you make along the way have halfway cool parents, could you? Thanks! I hope that as you get older you know how loved and cared for you are. I hope that you feel comfortable coming to me and your mother when you need something. I hope you’re never scared to ask us for help if you’re ever in trouble. I hope you know how truly special you are. I hope that you believe in magic, believe in yourself, and believe that your Dad is the coolest dude ever. I hope you trust us, and that we trust you. I hope you’re kind and compassionate. I hope you’re never too old to play with your old man and that you’re never too cool for hugs. I hope that you never want for anything. I hope you’re as happy as you’ve made me and that you laugh often. I hope that your Mom and I can give you a wonderful life and will do everything possible to ensure that we can.
This first year of your life, has been the best year of my almost 36 years. Thank you for letting me be your Dad and Happy Birthday my sweet little girl! I love you to the moon and back. Always.