I’m writing this because my heart is so full of love for you that sometimes the words don’t come out properly. Today, I have had a difficult day. My own failings have crept in and my depression seems to have struck fairly heavily.
Today, I’ve said a lot of angry words, and spent far too many minutes lost in frustration.
Let me unconditionally apologise for that.
We are both very sensitive creatures, and we tend to feed off each other’s energy. If I start spiralling, it doesn’t take too long before your behaviour follows. When this happens, like today, it’s up to me to be the responsible adult and lead us both out of it. Today, unfortunately, that didn’t happen very well.
You are my daughter, and that means you’ve inherited many of my traits – some good and some bad. You, like me, have a tendency to be dramatic, and have a low tolerance for stress or change – leading to overwhelm and anxiety. I’m sorry about those bits. On the upside, you are – like me – also blessed with a voracious appetite for the written word, a very creative mind, and an emotional, sensitive disposition.
The upside of these qualities is that you’ll get to understand your own personality and needs very intimately and will be able to empathise with others very easily. The downside is that from time to time, you’ll need to step away from life to clear your mind and spirit, and that can be sometimes difficult to justify to yourself and others, and difficult to own.
There’s something about anger and frustration that I need to explain.
When I get angry at you, I’m really not getting angry at you – instead I’m getting angry at myself for letting you down, or not being able to communicate with you properly. I see so many amazing qualities in you, and you are so smart and articulate that I regularly forget you’re still just a child.
I’m 35, and in my time so far I can humbly say that I’ve done a few things really well. I chose an amazing wife (your Mum), and I’ve helped create two amazing, inspiring, hilarious, gorgeous beings – you and your brother. There are other things that I’ve accomplished that I’m proud of too, but marrying your Mum and having you two kids will always be my most enduring and finest work.
I’ll tell you a secret though – I’m still learning how to do this parenting thing. I certainly don’t have it figured out. I probably never will, and it will be my life’s work to learn to be a great father.
I’m OK with that. But I wanted you to know it too.
So, when you’re older, look back kindly on your old man. He may have been big and strong and invincible to you – but he sure didn’t have all the answers, and sometimes he got things wrong.
And when I tell you I love you, please understand that those three words could never even begin to describe the joy you bring to me, the wonderful experiences you have given me, and the utter devotion and intense connection I feel for you.
I do love you, but that expression doesn’t even start to scratch the surface.
As you probably can imagine, I enjoyed today a lot less that I should have. But that doesn’t mean I’m not grateful for the day.
I have learned a lot today, about myself, about you, and about our family unit.
I have learned (again) how important it is to get the right amount of quality sleep in my routine. I have learned that you and I both need a little exercise each day to stay balanced and strong – and I look forward to building that habit together with you. I also learned that Mum’s favourite tip: “Look up to the sky and count your blessings” – really does work wonders when you’re in a bad mood.
I’m sure this probably won’t be the last day like this between us, but I promise you I’ll do my best to make them as few and far-between as possible.
No matter what, I’ll always be here for a chat and a cuddle, and I’ll always keep trying my hardest to be the best Dad I can be.
I love you, my angel.