“To my husband: You were built for this ‘girl dad’ role. You were made to father daughters.
When we first met, neither of us thought we’d have kids so quickly. It was never even a topic of conversation until that pregnancy test turned positive. But there we were, a couple of young 20-something year old’s about to be parents. I knew it would be a boy as that is all I planned for in life. All of my children would be boys and I imagined them to look exactly like you. You didn’t have an opinion on what you wanted or what you thought this baby was, for fear of offending them whenever (if ever) they learned you wished they were the opposite sex. Maybe you didn’t realize it then, but you were already protecting the little girl I was carrying.
When you saw your daughter for the first time, you saw me. You saw the 2-month-old baby sister your parents lost before you were even born. You saw the sister you grew up with, the one who was your best friend. You saw your mom. You saw all the girls you ever knew in your life. You finally understood the role our own fathers played in our lives. In an instant, you respected every single one of those men. You finally understood. This love you feel for this tiny little girl is bigger than anything you could have imagined. Your instinct to love her is stronger than any love you ever felt before. In a moment’s time you swore to protect her, to provide for her, and to love her better than any other man on this planet could. Without delay, she became daddy’s little girl.
On the outside, people view you as this outgoing, strong, and energetic man. In all fairness, you are all of those things. But I know that deep down, you harbor this sensitive inner self that not many people know. Your heart is pure love and your emotions run deeper than most people could comprehend.You were given a daughter (4, actually) and it wasn’t on accident.
When we went in for the ultrasound to find out the genders of our identical twins after having two girls already, the tech asked us what our guesses were. I again knew they were boys. We had to at least have some boys thrown in there. But you said, ‘two more girls,’ and the tech looked at you and smiled. She said, ‘Yup, 4 girls total for you guys!’ I sat there in shock. I hadn’t accepted my ‘girl mom’ role yet in this moment, but you accepted your ‘girl dad’ one before we even entered this appointment. You just knew boys weren’t in the cards for you. Maybe it’s what you always wanted.
Maybe the idea of having boys like your brothers really freaks you out. You had your rough and tumble boy moments, but everyone who knew you as a child says you were a sensitive kid who ‘cried a lot.’ You always say how you felt like people could never understand your emotions. So maybe you were given girls so you could make them feel validated over emotions other people think are unfounded.
Girls need love, patience, and constant reminders that we are good enough. It’s a tough job, but you stepped up to this role. The cuddles you offer her tiny little newborn body in the rocking chair at night and the snuggles you offer her when she’s been up sick with a high fever for three days in a row are important to her sense of security. She has learned to trust you from a young age. She has learned that you are her protector and that you can step in when mom isn’t able to.
You teach her to have fun by wrestling with her on the couch and doing cheerleading stunts with her from a young age. You tickle her belly as she roars with laughter and you play tea party when she needs an extra person. You throw her high in the air, showing her that some of the best memories are made from outside of your comfort zone. You empower her to be a fearless, daring, and a confident girl who can take on the world with the heart of a lion.
You teach her to ride a bike without training wheels because nobody can catch her like dad can. When she rides ahead to fall and scrape her knee, your sweet nature hugs her tight and wipes her tears away. You rub her back while she cries into your chest, constantly reminding her that you’re there and that everything is going to be okay. When she doesn’t want to try again you help coax her into one more shot. ‘Always get back up on the horse’ type of attitude. You hold onto the bike harder this time, proving to her that she can trust you. Then she finally can keep her balance and pedal without help. You run alongside her and you’re both grinning from ear to ear that she has completed this rite of passage in childhood. And you helped her do it.
Girls come with deep emotions that only men like you can handle. You listen to her worries with complete attention. You try to understand her anxieties by seeing the world through her eyes. You never force her to feel certain ways since you honor her feelings. You show her how to recognize those feelings, embrace what they are, but then to let go of them. You teach her not to dwell on anything too long and you help her develop skills to move past scary life events (like accepting the blue cup at dinner instead of the pink one that’s washing).
Girls have strong attitudes you were born to maneuver. Your witty and playful personality works its magic to easing the tension in the room. You have the uncanny ability to make your little girl laugh when she didn’t even want to smile. When she’s angry or upset, you hold her tight and whisper silly jokes into her ear, knowing laughter is the best medicine to a bad moment. You don’t let her take anything too seriously, teaching her that humor is an important way to get through this life.
While our children are still very young and your role in her life is still in the early stages, you continue to be the beacon of light for them. One day you will walk her down the aisle. She’s not going to want to let go, but you will guide her hand into another man’s life. They say you fall in love with someone who resembles your own father and she will seek out someone as completely affectionate and loving as you. You will have taught her how a woman should be treated in a marriage and she will know what a good man looks like. Your morals will reflect on her and she will do well having been raised by you.
When she has children of her own, she will get a little glimpse into the way you parented her. The memories she will have forgotten will be on full display as she watches you play with her own children. The way you love her will easily trickle down to her children and she will love you in a whole new way then.
You were built for this. You were made to give a handful of girls a father’s love. That true, undeniable father’s love. Not many men can be proud of having girls. But a man like you wouldn’t want it any other way.
You may not have biologically had a son, but you got one through adoption. He’s a lot like you were growing up. You see a lot of yourself in him in the way his sensitive personality makes him cry over things that seem mundane. Right now it seems impossible that he would ever play sports since his tears can come from someone just bumping into him on accident. But you aren’t forcing him to do anything but be himself. You know his tears are serious and you know they mean a lot to him. So you treat him the same way you treat the girls; you get down on his level and try to understand the feelings he has. You have so much patience that sometimes I am envious of the way you can slow down time to get to know them on a deeper level.
While we await the gender of baby #6 on their birthday sometime this spring, most of me knows it’s another little girl. While I would love for our son to have a brother, I just think the world would benefit from one more little girl being raised and loved by you.
Thank you for choosing me to parent with you. If anyone can handle the teenagers we will have in a few years, I’m happy to be doing so alongside you.
You are who all of us turn to. You hold our family up and you are the reason we love as hard as we all do.
I love being your wife, Tim.”
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