Hello, daughter of mine. Depending on when you eventually happen across this note to you, you might find the whole idea of this introduction a bit odd. (You might find me a bit odd, too, but you’ll get used to me.) But you see, there was a time when you weren’t here, and I want to tell you about some of the moments when I realized the days of you not being around were all but over.
See, if right now you think back as far as you can, you’ll remember something that happened before any of your other memories, the earliest memory you can reach. I hope it’s a memory that makes you smile (I love your smile, even though I’ve yet to see it). Whether it’s happy or sad, though, your earliest memory is special, because it’s the first moment in your life you and I can both discuss as informed participants. But before that, there was more. This stuff I’m talking about now? You don’t remember it, but you’re a part of it. So I want you to know. You had a beginning. And before you began, we were here.
There was a time when I wasn’t here. I don’t remember that. There was a time when I was a baby. Don’t recall that either. Then I was your age, and I can recall a couple things from that time. There was a time when Mommy and Daddy met, and I can tell you about that if you want. Some time later, we fell in love, and that’s a wonderful memory. Then we got married, and there are a few good stories about that . . . but at that time, you and your brothers were just wishes in secret little compartments in our hearts. Maybe this part of the story is boring to you.
Then Addison came along. After several years, Colin joined him. Four years later, a moment came along that I think you might find most interesting: I missed you.
You weren’t here, if by here you mean this planet, this world, this house. But I felt you here in my heart. I felt like you were on your way, but I hadn’t met you yet. And this not meeting you? I was not really okay with that, because I love you quite a lot. I like having you around. Anyway, this moment when I knew that I missed you and couldn’t wait to meet you, that was my earliest memory of you.
Your mother kind of thought I was crazy, and I should tell you, she was kind of right. But she was also very interested in meeting you, too. Then, one sweet Saturday, we found out you were coming. Babies have a way of sneaking into this world so no one can see them, but when their parents find out? We get very excited and happy and silly. When we found out, we were very surprised, super happy, and as thrilled as we’ve ever been. I really love this memory, and I hope you like it.
Before babies are born, there are nurses and doctors and the most fascinating little machines that can help us check on how you’re doing. They showed us you when you were too tiny even to recognize. They showed us your heart not long after it started beating. And, just a week before I wrote this note to you, they told us some of the most exciting news of all . . . you’re a GIRL.
I know what you’re probably thinking. Duh, Dad, I’m a girl. But our hearts got a little bigger and a little fuller when we learned this about you. Not because girls are better than boys or definitively different than boys, but because we knew you a little better. We knew we were picking out a name for a girl and clothes for a girl and toys and accessories and room colors for a girl. But not just any girl. YOU. And you are special. You are ours. You are the only you there is.
I’m writing to you now to tell you that however I am now that you’re reading this, I used to be different. Daughters have a way of transforming their fathers, I’m told. Maybe because I knew, from the moment I heard who you were, that I would do anything I could to please you, to protect you, to provide for you, and to make sure you grew up to be the girl, the woman God designed you to be. A discovery like that doesn’t leave a man in the same condition he woke up in that morning.
There is a part of my heart now, little girl, that is dedicated only to you. From that moment I knew I had to meet you, to that morning this week when I first felt you kick, to this day when you can finally read and start to understand these words . . . and on into forever, my heart is yours. I want you to know that now and remember it on the days I’m being a jerk.
I love you. Someday I’ll meet you and help name you, but those are the later memories. Those are the details that fall into place as they come. My earliest memory of you is loving you and wishing you were here in my arms. That will never change. Any time you need to know that you are special, you are treasured, and you are loved, I’ll be here to tell you and show you exactly that.
Now, what to call you . . .