She insisted on untucking her shirt!
Since I’ve well documented on here how crappy snow removal efforts are in my community and visitors here are wondering if they landed in Alaska because of the frigid temperatures. That meant another snow day for the kiddos and for me at work. Two days of cabin fever have me going stir-crazy. With nothing else to do, I thought about where my daughter would be in ten years from now when she is a senior in high school preparing to go off to college (I hope) and be the world’s best veterinarian ever. So I drafted her a letter to read when she hits graduation.
Dear beautiful daughter,
Well, sweetie the day is finally here, you are spreading your wings and flying off. You’re graduating, and I couldn’t be prouder of you. When you were seven you really wanted to go to Yale like the title character in Good Luck Charlie, but with all your research you settled on Stanford University because you wanted to “explore” the world as you liked to say when you were younger.
Fortunately, you don’t remember a whole lot about it but you were six years old when your parents split, you have learned by now it was a nasty divorce, but the months following separation you were about the only thing that put a smile on my face for a while. You and I became best friends that summer and fall; you taught me things about myself, and I taught you how to ride a bike and make cookies. Daddy was in a dark place then but I always looked out for you the best I could and have continually, and you did the same for me back then and have every day since you matured and grown into a young woman. You were the most battle tested second grader in your school that year, and I couldn’t have beamed with more pride every time I got a progress report that year.
The rest of your elementary school career you got to join your classmates in all school activities instead of just the events you were eligible for, and all of you girls became thicker than thieves. The show was well before your time, but the other parents and I nicknamed you girls “The Eastland Posse”, We all took the good and took the bad when it came to raising you pre-teen monsters. You stayed involved in cheerleading, softball, and finally gave up on basketball after you took one to many off the noggin. All your teachers raved about how smart you were, but would comment on how you would be easily distracted. Luckily for you, your dad got those same remarks at that age, and that grandpa you never met was the reason why. You weren’t that lucky, so we had to clash sometimes but it got you to the sixth grade.
Your junior high years were “awkward” to say the least, you were starting to become a teenager and I understood you needing your mom more than me at times. Boys started coming into the picture and I might have been a little too overprotective. I wasn’t the first dad nor will I be the last dad, it’s in the “how to raise a daughter” manual all of us dads are issued after we learn we are having a daughter. At least your mother and I agreed you weren’t dating anyone until high school! You still received high marks at school, and play dates had turned into sleepovers. I would have to get on you and your friends for being too noisy and loud at times, but I understood I was that age once myself. I finally relented and let you have a smartphone, but unbeknownst to you, I controlled all the content you could access on the phone. We had arguments, but I told you when I let you have it that I wasn’t going to let you run wild with it until you were older. Overall though you made it through junior high doing great in school and transitioning from young adolescent girl to a beautiful glowing young woman.
High school was rough on me! Constantly on the phone, you knew it all and were quick to remind me how dumb I was. That sweet little seven year old that looked out for her dad in her own little way, had now become a sarcastic mini version of her father. This was a day that I knew was coming since you were six years old, but the authentic version of it stung a little bit. For all your sarcasm though you could be the sweetest creature on earth with me. I cried like a baby the day I sent you off to prom because I almost didn’t get to see the day. You had never looked so beautiful since the day you were born, and your date was the most polite gentleman I had ever met. That’s when life came full circle for me I raised you right! I knew when you were a bushy-tailed kid after your parents split that you would never just “accept” a guy. He wasn’t going to have to pass the “dad” test, but your test. Between watching you graduate high school and signing your acceptance letter to Stanford my emotional level was off the charts! Because you are a warrior, you survived something you had no say in back when you were six years old. I couldn’t be more proud of you!