A letter to my daughter

Hi ________,

I’m your dad. We haven’t met face to face yet, but that will happen very soon. First, I should apologize. We don’t have a name for you yet, but that will come in due time–probably somewhere in between the time you make your way through the birth canal and the time you are cleaned up a little bit, swaddled in a blanket and snuggled up against your mom’s chest. Choosing a name for you is a ton of pressure, and when you first read this (probably at age 2 or 3 because you’ll be so smart), you’ll have to let us know if you really like the one we’ve given you.

Your mom and I are so excited to meet you. Speaking of your mom, I want you to know something. Your mom and I met when we were both in college. When we started dating, I felt like the luckiest guy in the world. She was beautiful, smart, and easy to talk to. She still has all these qualities and more. She is creative, industrious, adventurous, and empathetic. To make things abundantly clear–I would be the happiest guy in the world if you turned out just like your mom.

But you, my young lady, you are incredibly lucky because you get to be a part of this woman’s life without any work at all (unlike me). She will love you, care for you, and cherish you just because you are born to her. How lucky you are to have this woman as your mom! Yes, she is a bit of a perfectionist (I am trying to cure her). She will make you work hard (be ready to work long hours on that homework). She will challenge you to be your best even when you don’t want to be. You and your mom will probably have your disagreements. She will make you frustrated and you will reciprocate. She might even try to teach you to not like sports (and will not prevail). But you are getting the best this world has to offer. I can’t wait for you to meet your mom.

I’m a little bit of a different story. I’m not quite as consistent or disciplined as your mom. I mess up more and have more faults. Don’t be surprised if your friends someday wonder aloud if I’m “weird” or “a little out there” (I wear those mantels with pride, by the way). Even so, I am ready to give you everything that I do have. I want you to know that I will always love you, always protect you, and always be your biggest fan. I will cheer you on when you succeed and pick you up when you fail. I will take you on exciting adventures: first to things like the park and the ice cream store, and later, to things like a 12,000 foot volcano (yes, you will like the outdoors). I will want to tell you stories and read to you, and then hear you tell your own stories and read to me. I want to teach you about bigfoot and aliens and killing gophers (even if you don’t want to kill them, you will humor me, won’t you?).

I can’t wait to see you grow. I know you’ll be beautiful and confident and independent like your mom. I look forward to the day when you learn to crawl, then learn to walk, then learn to run (track is a sport you will be at least trying, by the way). I want to see you make friends, first just on a surface, play-mate level, and then much deeper.  I yearn for the day that you meet Jesus–not Jesus as a theoretical abstraction, but Jesus as a friend. I can’t wait to see you love others, empathize with them, and serve them. You will grow in all of these areas and more, and I will be there cheering you on every step of the way.

I am also scared. The world you are coming into is not always the best place. You, my precious daughter, will be scarred by many things. People will try to tell you that you need to grow up too quickly, but you must not do that. You must retain your childlike imagination and innocence. The world will try to define you by your physical beauty, but you are so much more than that. Your true beauty is so much deeper, so never settle for that shallow, trivial version of yourself. Many, many people will tell you that you can’t pursue your dreams because they are too imaginative or are impracticable. Don’t listen to them. Any time you want to talk about your dreams, I am here to listen and to help (I’ve had some pretty crazy dreams myself).

I’m also scared of me. I so badly want to be the kind of dad you will want to talk to. That you will share things with. The kind that you will want to respect. I want to live the kind of life you will be attracted to and want to emulate–but I am not great at doing any of that. I will fall short in your eyes so many times, but I ask you to look past that and give me grace. I will give you all the love I can muster, though, so I hope that’s enough.

A few more things before we cap this thing off. You are my first child. Therefore, it would break my heart if you ever cheered for any NFL team but the 49ers or any NBA team but the Blazers. I am not saying this would automatically disqualify you as my daughter, but it would be near-unforgivable [Side note: if you become a Seahawks fan, you will be disqualified]. Your mom might try to get you to like more traditionally “girly” things like dolls, ribbons, and scrapbooking, which is fine as far as it goes, but it will be unacceptable if those take away from our time together that may include things such as fishing, mountain climbing, skeet shooting, and watching sports. Don’t worry, your mom likes some of those things too.

I can’t wait.

Love,

your dad

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