Let me first confess that I’ve typed and re-typed this letter more times than I’d like to admit. There’s just so much to sum up (23 years worth!), that I’m sort of at a loss for words.
Perfection isn’t going to get me anywhere, so here goes nothing!
I can only begin to imagine the first time you saw mom’s ultrasound.
You probably remember that tiny flutter of a heartbeat, my little heartbeat! From that profound moment forward, the nature of your unconditional love has been incredibly humbling.
Less than a year later, when I finally entered the world via c-section, you intentionally carved a place inside your heart for me—just for me.
And you probably made a solemn promise to yourself: to protect me and support me and love me, as much as humanly possible.
More often than not, I’ve tested that promise you made to yourself 23 years ago. I know I’ve made you proud, but naturally, I’ve also failed you too.
For every grumpy, moody, self-involved, guilt-induced thing I’ve said or done (and will say and will do), I’m sorry.
I can be a rollercoaster of vulnerability and doubt and stubbornness, but you’ve always, always been there for me. Thank you.
You’ve encouraged me to be smart and ambitious, taught me to be kind, to work enthusiastically towards my dreams, and to never give up. From every hug and kiss and ‘ILY,’ to some of our more complex conversations, I’m blessed for everything you’ve shared with me.
You’re my role model, and one of my best friends.
You’ve never been one to wear your emotions on your sleeve, so I am grateful for every time you’ve offered sympathy and listened to me sob about something deeply personal—or ridiculously trivial (like that time I got a ‘c’ in econ class).
You’ve comforted me in my heartbreak(s), especially when the light at the end of the tunnel was very dim. You have given me the tools to move forward, even when I’m really hurting.
You’ve showed me that to be strong and fearless in this journey of life is worth every obstacle and struggle. My ability to grow as a person is related to how much insecurity I can handle.
I know that you worry about me (all the time), and I’d be shocked if you didn’t answer your phone with, “Hey, Eeds…everything alright?” “Haha yeah, dad. I’m just calling to say hi.”
I guess the first instinct of any father is to be overprotective of his daughter. But you’ve never discouraged me from going after what I want.
So in that sense, thank you for always worrying—but giving me my hard-earned independence—I hope I haven’t caused you too much grey hair.
I won’t ever forget in August of 2008, when you and I rented beach cruisers on the Wharf and proceeded to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge.
We were surrounded by classic San Francisco fog and whizzing cyclists, and it wasn’t exactly the peaceful, summer-y bike ride we imagined. That was when you told me that Mark Twain once said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”
During our ride, we stopped for ice cream and shared a late-lunch in the seaside town of Tiburon, then hopped on the ferry back across the Bay (I mean, God-forbid we bike all the way back). With wind-burned cheeks, fresh salt in our hair, and a new layer of freckles across our noses, I remember feeling overwhelmed with emotion that day.
That bike ride represented our last father-daughter bonding adventure. I was about to embark on the next chapter of my life in Colorado.
I realized that even though I was leaving everything I knew as ‘home’ for the previous 18 years, nothing could ever come between us. Because when you love someone that deeply, they become your home, no matter where you are in the world.
Sure, the older I get, the more I look in the mirror and see mom staring back at me. She gets the credit for my 5-foot stature, unruly blonde hair, competitiveness, and optimism.
But I am so much of who you are, too.
Everything from my love for books and writing, to sitting around a campfire squinting my eyes to catch a shooting start or a satellite, bbqing in the backyard in the middle of summer, cruising in the Jeep with the top down, and capturing that dreamlike MKB sunset on my camera—that’s all you.
I cannot wait for the day you walk me down the aisle, for the day I show you my ultrasound, and for the day you get to hold the piece of my heart that I carve out for my little girl or boy. Just like you held me, please hold my baby facing the world—because beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I know you will shower him or her with just as much unconditional love as you have with me.
Happy Father’s Day,
P.S. Mom, thank you. Thank you for that one night in Tucson when you sat and enjoyed a beer with dad.
Who knew he would end up being the love of your life.
You both won the lotto.
And I think Alex, William, and I can equally say the same.
(signed, the post-grad.)