The Daily ReTORt

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Friday, December 31, 2010

A Daddy's Letter to His Daughter for Her Belated 9th Birthday

One of the reasons why I started this blog was to create a journal that my two daughters (now ages nine and six respectively) can read years from now - so that they can have a better, first-hand perspective of who their parents actually were and what we were “about.”

Since both my parents have passed away, I now crave that type of insight into their lives which I don’t have.  However, that’s what I want for my girls.

Going forward I plan to write a short note to each of them here on the blog for each major milestone they achieve – maybe I’ll compile all of those “letters” and turn them into a book that I’ll give them when they graduate high school, college or get married? 

Regardless here comes the second installment:

Dear Taylor,                                             9:15pm - December 31, 2010

We just tucked you in for the night – the last day of 2010. I’ve been meaning to write this to you for several weeks, but your actual birthday in October was so crazy busy with visitors (e.g. Nana and Papa) as well as other activities I decided to postpone it for an equally significant milestone – New Year’s Eve seemed appropriate.
Tonight we went to dinner as a family at Carraba’s to celebrate the New Year and then came home to watch “Ramona and Beezus” on cable.  On the way, I had stopped at Target and got party hats, horns, streamers, party poppers and other noisy accoutrements for the four of us as we prematurely rang in the New Year. 
My time with you is always precious and always memorable.
I’m so proud of who you’re becoming every day and can’t wait to see what 2011 has in store for you. You’re currently in the fourth grade and for a good chunk of the fall you ran twice a week after school as part of “Girls’ On the Run” which culminated with your successful completion of a 5 kilometer race. 
Additionally, this year you became a member of the school safety patrol, began taking violin lessons and ran for Vice President of the Student Government.  Your determination, hard work, kindness and commitment to others have humbled and inspired me – and compel me to say “Thank You!”
Because during the past nine years I have changed in ways that I’ve never thought possible and that’s in large part due to you. Looking back to the man and husband I was before you were born, I was quite a bit more currish, stubborn, self-centered and angry – not at anything in particular, just at life.
You helped get my eyes and mind off of me and re-focus them on others – namely you and your mother. For that I’m truly grateful. Additionally, you were born about a month after the 9/11 attack in 2001. For the month leading up to your birth, I remember feeling shell-shocked as a result of those attacks, like I was sleepwalking through life.
However, your miraculous birth acted as a reboot to my quasi-depression and gave me something worth protecting and fighting for – and when I say miracle birth, I’m not kidding. Your mom had been in labor for about 24 hours, when your heart rate went into distress. Within minutes we both agreed with the doctor that you needed help and a C-section was necessary (we’ll explain that in a few more years).
During the surgery, I was right there with mommy and the doctor told us that your life-giving umbilical cord was wrapped around your neck twice (ironically choking you) and the same cord lacked a thick layer of fat, which meant that every time you moved inside mommy – you squeezed the cord and stopped the flow of oxygen to yourself – the same way that pinching a straw while sipping stops the flow of juice from a cup.
When all the crisis, crying, bleeding and praying were over, we had you and we’ll never let you go – that is until you choose to leave us and start your own life.
The complexity of feelings that you’ve brought into my life and my heart are difficult to articulate.

But the day you leave us for college or to start your own family, I’m sure I’ll feel similar to the way you felt the first day we dropped you off at Pinnacle Lutheran preschool when you were three years old. It was a typical separation anxiety scenario but you were so brave. You didn't shed a tear because you trusted our word that we’d be back for you in a few hours – and we were.
Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be as brave when you decide to start your own life - I predict that my separation anxiety will be much more pointed and painful. That’s the paradox of parenting – our sole goal in life is to help you not need us any longer.  While that goal remains hidden for now in some unknown future, it gets closer every day and we’re doing our best to complete it.
I want you to know how much I truly dread that day, yet how proud I am of you and how very deeply I love you.

All My Love,


  1. Outstanding. One of your absolute best.

    When it comes to the separation anxiety... I'm right there with you, man!


  2. @Bruce, thanks for the feedback - thank God His grace is sufficient. Regardless, I can't help but think I'll be a blubbering mess.

  3. I sit here reading this with tears in my eyes. Tor, you are an amazing father, person and friend. Thank you so much for this transparent look into your life. What you have done here speaks volumes about love. I love the idea, and should do the same. I used to do this when my oldest was much, much younger, and never picked it back up again. Thank you so much for the reminder. I can relate to SO many of the emotions you mention here, down to the traumatic events surrounding the birth. (Different circumstances surrounded each birth.) It is all these things that make up life, and all these things that make us love life in a whole new way. Thanks again for getting me thinking.