Your birth did more than make me a dad: It made me a man. For the first time in my life, I had another human totally dependent on me. For Mom and me, your birth was the first great, defining moment of our life together. You were our joy and our pride and you still are.
Your laugh is one-of-a-kind. It is funny. It is infectious. It is borne of the true joyful nature of your soul. You will never have to laugh alone, because no one can resist joining in.
I know the past year has dealt you blows that have rocked your world and tested your self-esteem and confidence. But you have persevered. You have faced it with beauty, charm and a buoyant spirit.
I want you to know that I have cried with you. I have hurt for you. And I am forever proud of you. So is Mom. And Ty.
I have always had heroes. Historical giants. Sports greats. Preachers. Writers. I never expected that my own child would become my greatest inspiration and my true hero.
No one knows better than your Mom and I the challenges you have faced – and still face – every day. No one knows better the pain, the tears, the suffering. And no one appreciates more the grace with which you have met each challenge, climbed each mountain, conquered each demon of doubt and despair.
I know you often wonder if love will find its way to you. My answer is this: I don’t know anyone who is more universally loved and respected by the people who know her best. I don’t know anyone more deserving.
For Mom and me, you were the most unexpected blessing of our lives. By the time you came along, I was finally mature enough to relax and enjoy the childhood of my child. I was less uptight. You were the apple of my eye. You had me wrapped around your finger from minute one.
You still do.
As you seek your place in this world, I hope you do so with the firm confidence that you have a strong foundation of love and faith upon which to build your life. You can face the uncertainty of tomorrow with the certainty that God is with you.
And so am I.
A man will often say of his wife, “She is my better half.”
You are not my better half. You are all that is good about me. You are the beauty and strength of my life. It is not just that I can’t imagine my life without you: I won’t imagine my life without you.
Without you, I would not be a Dad. Nor would I have the slightest idea how to be.
To all the girls I’ve loved…
With all that I am, I love you all.