My Daughter, I Apologize

Dearest Daughter,

I owe you an apology. Sometimes spoken words fail me, so if you’ll forgive me, I’ll use the words that don’t.

Last night you surprised me. You said something that I, quite frankly didn’t think I would hear.  And my reaction, let’s be honest–sucked.

I want to apologize for that. You see, I get the feeling that you think I’m somehow disappointed with you. Let me assure you, nothing could be further from the truth.

No, my sweet pumpkin girl, I am not disappointed in you. I am disappointed in me.

You see, I heard from you last night a reflection of me. Something that I would have said. And lest any one else think the sentence was so terrible–it wasn’t.  As I said, it merely surprised me. Much like the first time a parent hears their child use the work ‘fuck’ in a sentence. There is a moment of pride that they are coming in to their own, and a moment of terror that they have in fact been paying attention to you.

And that’s really where I was going with this. I have always thought (and will continue to think to my dying breath) that you are an amazing light in this world, dear girl, and that your full brightness and potential has yet to be tapped.

I have always sought to help you grow in to that light.

And yesterday I failed you.

I took the words on the surface and reacted to those.

I failed you.

I failed to see the pain, the anger, the hurt that those words represented.  It has not been so long ago that I have loved someone, my child. And when they choose another over you, it hurts. For whatever their reasoning, it hurts.

What I have learned in my short time around in this particular body, though, is that the problem…the fault…the short coming is very seldom yours. Their incapacity to fully appreciate your wonder and beauty and uniqueness is not your shortcoming–it’s theirs.

I forget sometimes that you are my daughter. I forget that you are younger than I because I believe our souls are of similar age. We are so alike in many ways. I have no doubt this frustrates the hell out of your mother.

I am sorry. I am sorry that for a moment I forgot to be your father. Your protector. The one that was supposed to shelter you from the bullshit.

But you see…you tricked me. Somewhere along the way you grew in to this beautiful woman. Full of spirit and life. The playfulness of the little girl I used to sing to sleep grew in to a woman full of fire who takes no shit from anyone. To say that caught me off guard would be the mother of all understatements.

Believe me when I tell you, my heart threatens to burst with love and pride with each path you forge in your life.

And know this, with every step…every struggle…every triumph (for there will be many of each), I will be by your side, cheering you on. I will always be here for you. Day or night.

It’s what dads do. Well…I guess I should say, it’s what I do. I can’t speak for other dads, but it’s what my dad taught me (even if I was very slow to realize).

And if we have to open a can of whoop ass, I’m ok with that too.

You are the single greatest gift in my life, Jenyfer Marie.  And I love you to the moon and back.

Every day. Period.


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