To my amazing daughters,
I recently read that every time a baby is born, a dad is born. I don’t quite agree with that. A father is born, but a dad has to grow into the role. When I was a kid, my dad had a figure in his office and the base of the figure was inscribed with “Any man can be a father. It takes a special man to be a dad.” At least it was something like that. I carry that with me in my head when I think about my role as your dad. I try to think of ‘dad’ as a title that I have to earn. Most days I think I do ok – at least with one of you. Other days I am surprised that you three don’t gang up and fire me. It is a struggle, this dad thing. I want so much to be able to meet your expectations and do everything with you that you want me to do. I want to be able to drop everything and do puzzles, go to the park, play basketball, ride bikes and read with you whenever you want.
I struggle because I also have bosses that want me to do things for them and household tasks that need doing and your mum who wants me to say hello to her from time-to-time, not to mention our cat who pats me on the arm until I pet her. I appreciate that unlike her, you don’t bite me when you’ve had enough of playing.
I struggle because I want to do better for you. I want better for you. I love when you ask me to play or colour with you and I want to be able to say yes all of the time. Every time you ask I want to stop what I am doing – which is often less important – and play with you. I hope I say yes often enough. You girls deserve all of me.
I love being your dad. I love watching you grow and explore the world.
To our 2 1/2 year old – you are fascinating. You are in a constant stage of visible development. You regularly throw new words and phrases into your vocabulary and I have to check my brain to make sure that you actually said what I think you said. You so want to be like your big sisters and you are determined to make sure that you work through and overcome the challenges in your way of being like them. I see this most often at the playground. You are a climbing daredevil and I have to constantly remind myself to just let you try so that I can watch you figure things out. You have a fantastic laugh and you are usually ready with a smile – except of course when you are ready with a screaming tantrum…
To my seven year old – you are determined. You are stubborn and determined to get your way. You frustrate me and push my buttons regularly. At other times you are eager to learn and hang out with me. Yesterday we had a great morning biking to and from our Aikido class. We talked the whole way there and back. It was a great ride and an excellent start to the day. We are so alike in our stubbornness and determination and our challenge will always be to figure out how to set aside our respective stances and work together to achieve what we both want. You a creative kid who is not going to let anything get in your way and I look forward to seeing where that takes you in life. I love that reading has finally clicked for you and that you are now devouring books on your own. You will soon catch up to your big sister and we’ll be able to find the two of you hiding in books whenever we aren’t sure what you are up to. The two of you are excellent big sisters and it is great that the three of you are making ways to play and learn together.
To my nine year old – I can’t believe you are almost ten… You are our inquisitive intellectual. I am confident that you will learn more on your own than you learn in school. Always with your nose in a book, you consume so much information in a day that I expect that you will someday surpass my own limited knowledge of the world. With all the magic and fantasy books you are reading these days I suspect that you will soon be practicing magic. We often have to call your brain back to earth so you can focus on daily tasks. I imagine that those tasks seem quite mundane compared to the worlds you visit in your books. You think deeply about what you read and learn and you ask great questions. You are a big help to your younger sisters and us. You are usually willing to help out around the house when we ask and I appreciate that. I look forward to where all of that thinking leads you.
You are all growing and changing as individuals and as sisters. I am proud to be your dad. I wish I had more time in the day to hang out and play with you.
I look forward to continuing all of our adventures together.