Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gracie turns 3

   Gracie, I was terrified of you before you were born.  Actually I was terrified of any little girl.  I had a grasp of what boys were like, but I wasn't sure I could handle a girl.  I didn't know how to relate to you.  I wasn't sure I would have the patience or empathy or whatever part of a person that gives them the ability to listen with rapt attention to a little girl's stories, worries, troubles and cares.  I didn't know about dresses and shoes and matching colors.  I didn't know how to play with dolls or stuffed animals.  I understood wrestling and rough-housing and throwing kids in the air.  Girls have always perplexed me.

     Three years ago you came into my life anyway and a whole new world opened up to me.  I was told by the old ladies at my office that I would spoil you and I secretly swore to myself that I never would allow that, because I've seen too many little girls grow up into spoiled big girls.  I swore to myself that I would avoid the frills and pageantry. I never wanted a princess.

     What you have shown me is that girls have a way of changing their daddies' hearts.  I still don't think I can ever spoil you because I love you for who you are and I would never do anything to spoil that precious innocence and unique personality.  You have taught me that there is nothing about you that scares me.  You have taught me what sincere love and adoration are.  I love coming home every night to have you meet me at the door saying, "Daddy, are you done with your work?" followed by "I missed you so much."  I have never felt so blessed as I feel when you endlessly chatter on about everything under the sun, because I see a love for life and a hope for the future that you don't even fully comprehend and I have begun to lose sight of.

     You have complete faith and trust in me, far more than I deserve.  That faith makes me want to try harder to be the best daddy possible to you and the best husband I can be to your mother.  The other day you told mom that you wanted to marry me when you grew up.  I hope that I am the kind of father and husband that you could use as an example of the man you will look for in a husband someday.

     Now my fears are not of you, but for you.  I sometimes wish I could freeze you in time at this exact age before you lose your innocence.  I still dread puberty and later dating and watching you grow up needing me less and less. I think you know that I will always be your daddy and you will always be my little girl, yes, even my princess.  I feel sorry for any boy that ever wants to date you because between me and your 4 brothers, he's gonna have some tough interrogations before he will ever get that privilege. 

    For now though I am more than content to watch you run around in your tutus and princess dresses telling me the storyline of Tangled, Alice the Wonderland, or Booty and the Beast.  Yeah, we will most likely have a confrontation tonight about you staying in bed, but I am glad to know that if I lay beside you, you will drift off into your dreams in just a few minutes.

     I don't know the best way to protect you from whatever threatens to hurt you in your life, but you can know that I will be there for you.  You will most likely make me mad and break my heart from time to time, but you can't ever do anything to tarnish my love for you and I hope that I will always see the same unconditional love and admiration when I look in your eyes that I see today.

     I thank God so much for giving you to me.  He knew that I needed you.  It was one of the most precious gifts he ever gave me.  Happy Birthday.  Now let's get you  ready for bed.