You make my heart smile

February 4, 2024

When I was 18 I met a girl who made me feel like I was Superman. It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced or felt before. Everything I did was funny. Every thing I did, impressive. Every day we lived together, brand new and full of adventure. She was the most beautiful person I’d ever seen, and the most beautiful person I’d ever known. I was then, and remain so to this day, sure that I would never tire of spending life with her. I thought it was impossible that any other girl would make me feel something like that again. 

Then I met you. 

From the moment the girl who made me Superman gave you to me, I have been feeling things in ways I didn’t know were possible. I have cried tears from happiness, I have cried tears from laughter, and I have cried tears of thanksgiving. I have tried to be a tough and rule-enforcing father, but all too often the smile on your face and the inflection of your voice, has turned me into a melted pile of mush; who says yes before I even know why. 

One of my favorite things in the whole wide world, is to listen to sing to yourself as you float around our house. It’s as if you’re in a world all your own, unaware that we can hear you, and even if you know, you couldn’t care less. Your pitch isn’t perfect, and sometimes the words don’t make sense, and yet, these are some of the most beautiful songs that have ever graced my ears. Their innocence is inspiring, and their courage takes my breath away. I just know, that someday when I am old and gray, I will sit in my chair and sing them back to myself in my mind, all the while picturing the carefree little girl who was stealing my heart as she sang them – and what joy they will bring me even then. 

Lately though, you’ve found a new and fantastic way to surprise a man who prides himself on being “unsupriseable.” It may in fact be the most cherished time we’ve ever spent together. You’ve started giving me a sneak peak at what’s going on inside that little noggin of yours, when it comes to the Father we both share. 

“Daddy, how does God love everyone in the whole world all at the same time?” 

“Daddy, did God make even pugs?” 

“Daddy, did you name me Esther after the girl in the Bible?” 

“Daddy, I know you love me more than anyone in the whole world – except for God, right?”

Yes, baby, that’s right. No matter how much I can ever love you, and it’s so so SO much, there is One who loves you with a passion and a purpose that even I cannot match. He made you special and unique, and has given you gifts that you are already using to help people know about HIm. 

When I watch you sing your songs in the programs at church and school, the look of devotion and assurance on your face, as you declare truths about God; gives even this theologian a twinge of jealousy at just how sure you are, about how real He is, and how true His promises are. It is my dream for you, that as you age, you never lose your child-like faith. 

And so, while I miss the nights of rocking you to sleep in the chair in your room, or cuddling quietly on the couch, you asleep in my lap with college football on the TV; I can’t help but be overwhelmed with joy and gratitude because of the little lady you’ve become. It is one of my greatest joys and privileges in life for you to call me daddy – and although I know it might seem a bit childish for a 40 year old woman to call her father that – I hope it never changes. 

Esther Jillian, Essie J, my baby, butt cheeks (all daughter’s have to have at least one embarrassing nickname from their dads), I can say without ANY hesitation and without a shadow of a doubt, you are the most beautiful little girl I have ever known. Your kindness is unending. Your loyalty is fierce. You look out for the least of these, and make others feel like the precious children of God they are. 

You make me laugh. 

You make me cry. 

You make my life better just because you are you. 

And even though it makes no sense, and seemed like an impossibility until the moment I first met you; 

You make my heart smile. 

8 years is a long time to know someone, and yet it seems to have gone by so incredibly too fast. In 8 more years, I’ll be teaching you to drive, and fending off the boys with sharp sticks and stupid jokes. But one thing I know, that I’ll be thinking then, what I am thinking now; 

Thank you God for Esther. My daughter, my baby, and my queen. Thank you for showing me who you are, through who she is. Thank you for the songs we sing together, the “cuggles” that we share, and the way she makes me feel about who you made and have called me to be. 

A man who hopes that one girl calls him Superman, and the other calls him Dad. 

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