I can’t believe you’re already 5 years old. I still remember rocking you to sleep in my arms; I remember you learning to walk in my living room; I remember you learning to talk; now, you’re blossoming into a beautiful little girl. Even if your mother and I aren’t together anymore, that doesn’t mean I ever stopped caring about you and it certainly doesn’t mean that I ever stopped loving you.
I have thought about you every single day since you came into my life, and I’ve missed you every single day since you left it.
You may not be able to read this and, whatever little you can read, you won’t understand, but hopefully you read this when you are older and the words you see have some kind of affect on you.
There are things you need to know and things I need to thank you for:
You can call me for anything.
I played so much Motown around you as a baby that you probably would recognize ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ if it came on and you wouldn’t know why, so I’ll quote Tammi Terrell when I say, “If you need me, call me; no matter where you are, no matter how far. Just call my name, I’ll be there in a hurry; you don’t have to worry.” I’m always here for you, for anything you need.
Your mother loves you.
She may be stressed at times and she may get upset at others (especially me), but she loves you. You don’t quite understand how much right now, but you will one day.
I love you.
From the day you became a part of my everyday life, you have been on my mind every single day — all 1,699 of them. Some days I think about you for a couple of minutes; some days, a little more; and some days I spend pockets of time thinking about how your life will turn out and what I can do to make it better. I love you, unconditionally, forever.
I would do anything for you.
The day you two moved, I said that if having you for the rest of my life would mean remaining single, I’d do it. More than two years later, I still feel the same way. So whether it’s new school supplies, new clothes, or just love and support in all you do, I want to be able to give you everything you need, and most of what you may want. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put into to words exactly how much you mean to me.
I want to thank you.
Before you, I wasn’t sure if I wanted kids, for fear that I would be a terrible father. Before you, I was almost certain that I didn’t want daughters. Now, I can’t wait for fatherhood, specifically because of you. You’ve shown me how incredible and life-changing it is to raise a child; and for that, I thank you.
You shoved me from boy to man in two years and you didn’t even know it. You made me face situations no college student should have to deal with, but it made me stronger in so many ways. For that, I thank you.
You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I don’t know who I would be if you had never come into my life, but I’m glad I don’t need to face that possibility. I can’t imagine a world of mine without you in it, in any capacity. For that, I thank you.
You love me unconditionally, almost as much as I love you. You solidified my faith in love the day I saw you after a one year apart and you recognized me and called me by name, instantly. In 25-plus years of life, that is the happiest day of my life. For that, I thank you.
You will always be a part of me.
People always tell me, “Just wait until you have a child of your own; it will be so much better,” and I always respond, “Why?” Just because we do not share the same DNA does not mean I love you any less than I do; and if I am lucky enough to have a biological child of my own one day, I will not love them more just because we do share the same DNA.
You are a part of me, forever. Whether we see each other again, see each other sparingly, or you become a part of my everyday life again, there is always a piece of me that belongs to you, and nothing — not another woman, not another child and certainly not time — can ever change that.
Happy birthday, beautiful. Thank you for everything.