When you saw your daughter for the first time, you saw me. You saw your own sisters. You saw your mom. You saw all of the girls you ever knew in your life. You finally understood the role our own fathers played in all of our lives. In an instant, you respected every single one of those men. You finally understood. This love that you feel for this tiny little girl is bigger than anything you could have imagined. Your instinct to love her is stronger than any love you ever felt before. In a moment’s time you swore to protect her, to provide for her, and to love her better than any other man on this planet could. Without delay, she became daddy’s little girl.
On the outside, people view you as this outgoing, strong, and energetic man. In all fairness, you are all of those things. But I know that deep down, you harbor this sensitive inner self that not many people know. Your heart is pure love and your emotions run deeper than most people could comprehend.
You were given a daughter (four, actually) and it wasn’t on accident.
Girls need love, patience, and constant reminders that we are good enough. It’s a tough job, but when a man like you steps up this role, the impact you have on a daughter’s life is tremendous. The cuddles you offer her tiny little newborn body in the rocking chair at night are just the beginning to this incredible journey you will embark on. The snuggles you offer her when she’s been up sick with a high fever for three days in a row are important to her sense of security. She has learned to trust you from a young age. She has learned that you are her protector and that you can step in when mom isn’t able to.
You give her a kind of fun I never could. You’re the one who wrestles with her on the couch and the one who does cheerleading stunts with her from a young age. You tickle her belly as she roars with laughter and you play tea party when she needs an extra person. You throw her high in the air, showing her that some of the best memories are made from outside of your comfort zone. You empower her to be a fearless, daring, and confident girl who can take on the world with the heart of a lion.
You teach her to ride a bike without training wheels because nobody can catch you like dad can. When she falls and scrapes her knee, your sweet nature hugs her tight and wipes her tears away. You rub her back while she cries into your chest, constantly reminding her that you're there and that everything is going to be okay. When she doesn't want to try again you help coax her into one more shot. "Always get back up on the horse" type of attitude, right? You hold onto the bike harder this time, proving to her that she can trust you. Then she finally can keep her balance and pedal without help. You run alongside her and you're both grinning from ear to ear that she has completed this rite of passage in childhood. And you helped her do it.
You teach her to dig in the dirt for worms and how to fish because girls love those nitty gritty experiences too. When she loses her mind over the fish dangling from the hook, you get down on her level and offer words of encouragement. Instead of shaming her for her fears, you listen to her concerns. You suggest that she just touch it with one finger before you throw it back so she can feel the slimy, slippery scales. Childhood is better when it’s messy and your child-like nature thrives in this season of life.
Girls come with deep emotions that only men like you can handle. You listen to her fears and her worries with complete attention. You try to understand her anxieties by seeing the world through her eyes. You never force her to feel certain ways since you honor her feelings. You show her how to recognize those feelings, embrace what they are, but then to let go of them. You teach her not to dwell on anything too long and you help her develop skills to move past scary life events (like accepting the blue cup at dinner instead of the pink one that’s washing).
Girls have strong attitudes that you were born to maneuver. Your witty and playful personality works its magic to easing the tension in the room. You have the uncanny ability to make your little girl laugh when she didn’t even want to smile. When she’s angry or upset, you hold her tight and whisper silly jokes into her ear, knowing laughter is the best medicine to a bad moment. You don't let her take anything too seriously, teaching her that humor is an important way to get through this life.
Girls can be hesitant to take a new step, but there you are encouraging her to try. You are always beaming with pride for her and always reassuring her that you are. You give her confidence to take on a new adventure while making sure she knows she's supported the whole way. Your words of encouragement will stick with her throughout her life and she will appreciate your constant loyalty.
While our children are still very young and your role in her life is still in the early stages, you continue to be the beacon of light for them. One day you will walk her down the aisle. She’s not going to want to let go, but you will guide her hand into another man’s life. They say you fall in love with someone who resembles your own father and she will seek out someone as completely affectionate and loving as you. You will have taught her how a woman should be treated in a marriage and she will know what a good man looks like. Your morals will reflect on her and she will do well having been raised by you.
When she has children of her own, she will get a little glimpse into the way you parented her. The memories she will have forgotten will be on full display as she watches you play with her own children. The way you love her will easily trickle down to her children and she will love you in a whole new way then.
Not all men are created like you.
Not all men are able to tap into their emotions and feelings to understand a girl's point of view.
Not all men can raise a daughter…and raise her well.
But you? You were built for this. You were made to give a handful of girls a father’s love. That true, undeniable father's love. Not many men can be proud of having girls. But a man like you wouldn’t want it any other way.
Thank you for choosing me to parent with you. If anyone can handle the teenage girls we will have in a few years, I’m happy to be doing alongside you.
You are who all of us turn to. You hold our family up and you are the reason we love as hard as we all do.
I love you, Tim.
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