I still don’t really believe it happened. One minute I was sitting at home watching nighttime television with my wife – the next I was holding my daughter. My daughter. The words don’t even make sense as I type them. Her name is Esther. People keep telling me she’s beautiful, and she is. People keep saying she’s perfect, and she might be. People keep saying she has so much more hair than I do, and they’re right. I see all those things but to be honest, right now, I only care about one thing – I want her to be daddy’s little girl.
Yesterday, when I was talking with my wife, I said out loud what I had been thinking since the moment she was born. ‘I get to walk one down the aisle.’ I really hope I do. I’m already looking forward to it. But the reality of life is that there is so much more of it that happens between then and now.
I got to introduce her to big brother, which was a moment so surreal I’ll never forget it. I get to rock her back to sleep on nights when no one but daddy knows how to make it all better. I get to pick her up and call her name again and again as she takes her first steps. I get to hear her first words, and then correct her grammar and pronunciation. I get to drop her off at her first day of school. I get to drop her off at her last day of school.
Some where in between I’ll tell her that big brother won’t always be so grumpy, that mommy is still better at homework, and that boys are big giant meanie-heads and they aren’t to be trusted. I should know, after all, I was one once. I’ll teach her how to drive, drop her off at college, spend more money than I ever thought I’d make. All so she knows how much her daddy loves her – something even I am unaware of in this moment.
But there is another truth I am avoiding here. A truth about me. I won’t always be her hero. They’ll be the first time I make her cry, the first time I say something hurtful, and the times she’s so embarrassed of me she’ll wish I was on another planet. I have known me my entire life – and I am not the perfect anything, much less the perfect dad.
So as cheesy as it may sound, and as cliche as it might be – on this the second day Esther is alive, I have made a promise to her, myself, and someone else. I have promised that I will do all that I can to teach her, show her, model for her and instill in her her worth that can only be found in the Heavenly Father that we both share. He will always love her. He will always pick her up. He will teach her more than I ever could. He should be her hero.
So if I don’t get anything else right, I hope it will be that. My beautiful little girl deserves that and so much more. Welcome to our world, my precious little baby Esther. My daughter. My perfect, beautiful, hair-graced little girl. Our lives will be made up of so many incredible moments together. Not the least of which will be that tear-filled walk down the aisle. But moments cannot last forever, and so I pray for you much more than that. I pray that you may know you are loved with a love more perfect than you are right now. And I pray that you will always know that you are your (heavenly) daddy’s little girl.