I was blessed to learn of contrast between two people I once thought so similar. My daughters. It was when I took you Birthday shopping for whatever you would like. Your sister and I had done something similar a few weeks before, yet, the choices in color, style and purpose couldn’t be more different.

I learned how a father could be so “out-of-touch” with reality when it came to fashion. I also learned that I didn’t like my little girl growing up (so fast). That day, however, was one of the most wonderful days I had ever spent. Maybe because I was able to see that whatever your choices might be in the future, you had a good and determined mind.

The nursery rhyme states that girls are made of “Sugar and spice and everything nice.” That is the way I viewed you over the years. Your desire for pink and bright purple things. Ladylike in every respect. And as you grew, your presence demonstrated that there would be no compromise in the things you sought of life. I had hoped, with a smile.

Boys, on the other hand, as said to be made of “Snakes and snails and puppy dog’s tails.”

That being the case, how could anyone think that these two distinct opposites could ever come together? Let lone produce another set of opposites.

It really isn’t that hard to explain. It is called “love.”

You see, love really is blind. We choose to see what we see. No matter the truth behind it. We make excuses. We make allowances. And, if there is “true love”… then a whole new set of rules apply. Guidelines really.

Love means allowing people to make mistakes. Love means caring for someone, supporting someone, and always protecting those who are in need of protection. And, in protecting our children, the statement that we would do, or say anything, including give up our life, takes precedent over all else.

Imagine caring that much.

It wasn’t when you were scared at night to sleep alone. It wasn’t your faltering when learning to ride a bike. It wasn’t shopping for new clothes and shoes. It wasn’t in supporting you to become a beauty queen. Yet it was. It was, and is, every moment of every day spent in reflection of the person I helped bring into this world.

A daughter. The most frightening and disconcerting thing any person made of ‘snakes and snails’ could possibly imagine. Every day second guessing ‘every’ decision. Every action. Every quandary of just what this small, frail, yet very loud voiced baby would become.

You may not understand this, but, my regrets are few. I love you.

wonderfulRegardless of time and space. Even without hearing your voice. Knowing you are well… is enough.

Reality is not always like nursery rhymes. No “Happily ever after” here… But it is wonderful to know you. The you that no one really ever gets to see. The you who still pines in the darkness for those things no one else could know. The you that has grown to a fine, strong, wonderful woman.

Happy Birthday, my darling daughter, Emily.

May your Birthday be full of sugar and spice and everything nice… with a couple of puppy dog’s tails thrown in — just to make it more interesting.

May the Lord bless and keep you, always. I love you.