A Letter to My Daughter
First of all, I apologize for the anonymous greeting; I hate it when people write “dear sir” in a letter and expect me to appreciate or even engage with it. As I write this, you are still in your mother’s womb, and I don’t want to let the name out of the bag to everyone until you make your grand entrance. Just know that I know your name.
Please be carefree and reckless forever but always hold my hand when we’re crossing the street and remember that those turtles with tails are snappers and be sure to stay far away from them.
The first time your mom referred to me as “dad” was when we adopted your furry brother Kevin; I still remember the first time she said it, and it weirded me out like crazy. It took me some time to get used to the nickname. Now, however, I’m so ready for you to call me dad.
I’m sorry if I ever set expectations that are too high or put too much pressure on you. I’m going to try my best not to, but if I do end up putting pressure on you, it is simply because I believe in you so much. To borrow from Brené Brown, I believe that you are wired for struggle but, at the very same time, are worthy of so much love and belonging. It is my prayer that you come to know and experience that truth in deep and meaningful ways.
At the same time, I want you to know that I’m scared out of my mind for this whole parenting thing. I’m nervous that I won’t know what to do as a dad. I’m scared because life is difficult and full of pain and we’re willingly inviting you into that mess. I’m terrified that you’ll struggle with the same things I have and I can’t control that. I promise I will always be there for you, shielding you from the darkness when I can and letting you experience it when I think you need to.
More than anything, I just can’t wait to be your dad and your buddy while you grow up. I want to watch Steelers games with you and coach your soccer team and belt duets to Wicked with you, but I promise I will love you just the same if you would rather watch figure skating or join the art club at school or jam out to Metallica. No matter what your interests and passions are, I’m with you all the way.
I’m a think-forward person, my dear, so let’s get some of the difficult conversations out of the way early and tick off a few boxes:
It’s time for you to be potty trained, so there’s the toilet and go use it, thanks!
There’s this thing called sex and it creates children, and that’s why you are here; that’s why we’re all here.
No, you can’t go over to his house if his parents aren’t home. Because I said so.
It’s within the realm of possibility that there will still be a few difficult topics we’ll need to cover when the time is right. Your mom and I will do our best to have the hard conversations with you. We’ll be honest with you about who you are, who God is, and what is wrong with this world. We’ll try to set you up to make the best decisions, but we know that ultimately you will have to find your way on your own, however difficult that road is. We know there will be plenty of challenging moments ahead, lots of tears and arguments and days you may not want to even talk to us. We are as ready as we’ll ever be for those moments.
Finally, now that I’m about to wade into the waters of parenthood, let me try my hand at a few dad jokes. Please tweet me (or whatever you kids are using these days! LOL) and let me know what you think:
Why was the scarecrow promoted? Because he was outstanding in his field!!!
Do you want to hear a joke about a pencil? … Never mind, it’s pointless!!!
I used to have a job at a calendar factory, but I got fired because I took a couple days off!!!
Kiddo, even before you arrive, you have changed everything. You are my favorite little girl, and it’s because of you that I am proud to be called “dad.”
See you soon.