We know how you feel, Dad
A couple of years ago, we received this letter from a stay-at-home dad, James Orr, who wanted his daughter Tiffany, born on July 2, to know how much he loves her. Now, as she turns 4, he realizes like so many of us Mommas already know that she is growing up and moving on to more school, more playdates and a little less time with him. -- The eds.
As my little girl turns 4 years old today she is starting the most frightful time in any stay-at-home parents’ life -- trusting someone else to look after her! She’s attending summer school, and is starting to go on field trips complete with bus drivers, trips to the movies and spraygrounds. Call me over-protective but no one prepared me for the gut-wrenching feeling that something can happen to my little one. We all get scared thinking that our kids could trip while running around or slip and slide near water and bang their heads (or worse). I want to let my daughter loose on the world, and truly value her exploring. I guess it’s time to let go and trust the teachers. But it’s really hard …
That said, I wouldn’t want it any other way! I just love being a dad. And not just any dad -- the best I can possibly be. Yeah, there are days that I would rather sleep in -- say past 6:45 a.m. when my daughter comes racing in on Saturday morning convinced that it is, indeed, a school day. And I know I probably should be doing something else with her when I put her in front of the TV to watch Wall-E or some other G-rated movie for the umpteenth time so that I can take a glance at the newspaper over dinner. But I didn't say I was perfect -- I say I am the best I can be with her, and this should be enough.
So, this letter is for you, Tiffany. My little girl, my baby, my growing bundle of contradictions, emulations and sassiness. Secretly, I thank my lucky stars when you’re sick so that I can get some extra snuggle time -- and sometimes this is the ONLY time I get you when your motor isn’t running full speed. As you get older, you seem to want to curl up more on my lap, touching my nose or cheek with your tiny fingertips, content with my stroking your hair, and listening intently to a story from your past, or even from mine.
Sometimes, it’s funny talking with anyone who doesn’t have children because I can’t seem to remember when you weren't a part of my life. It seems an eternity has passed by in a flash, as my love grows more and more for you each day.
So here’s to you, Tiffany, on turning 4 and finding your footing on this Earth. And here's to your innocence, however long you can maintain it. I promise to guide you, teach you, and never, ever stop loving you. My career is to help you make good decisions, and to enjoy you every step of the way. I just want to say how truly amazing you are, from the first moment you throw your little arms up hugging the air welcoming the morning, to the way your droopy eyelids fight sleep to hear “One more animal story again Daddy pleeeeze” at bedtime. You are my breath and pulse, and at my very core, I effortlessly seem to find ways to love you more and more.
Love, Your Daddy
[Orr family photo: That's Tiffany, who is 4 today, enjoying some time at a sprayground]
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