[M]y Dearest Caitlyn,
When I started college, I told myself that I wanted a dozen kids. I know crazy, right? When I turned 25, I was worried that perhaps I would never have kids. Funny how you think when you are young. My dreams started coming true when I found out you were coming into the world, I was SO happy. God blessing me with a daughter. I didn’t waste any time. I began immediately painting your room, buying your crib and studying hard to become the best Daddy I could be for you.
I prayed and fought hard for you before you were born and have never stopped ever since. Some day you will truly understand the reasons I needed to be your full-time Daddy. A decision I have never regretted and the positive impact on your life is far better than I could have ever hoped or imagined.
Caitlyn my love, I love you more than life itself!
I was there when you took your first steps. I was there to welcome you home on your first day of Kindergarten. I spent seven years changing your elementary school sign just so I could wave at you during school. I was there to say a prayer and kiss you goodnight each night. I cheered at your school performances and was there each night to aid in homework. Caitlyn it has been wonderful watching you grow up.
Caitlyn my love, I love you to the moon and back!
I was there counting rhythms when you started the clarinet. I bragged to my co-workers when you made student of the month. I dressed as Harry Potter and chaperoned your middle school Halloween dance. I listened as we talked of your first crush. And intervened when things went bad. I took you on a father/daughter getaway to discuss life, the universe and everything. I said yes to the third time on Space Mountain. I zombied during your 5a track meets, and brought you Starbucks during your post Mix paintball nights.
Caitlyn, you are my only daughter, and I love you greatly!
I was there helping you decide your AP and IB classes. I was there to aid in moving music to your smart phone. My heart skipped a beat the first time you drove around the Trinity parking lot. I tried to laugh as you took out your first curb. I monitored your texting and coached your friend selections. I sweated in bleachers as you marched in your first band practice. I cheered in the stands at the San Antonio regional finals and walked you onto your first possible college campus. (Go Mean Green!)
Caitlyn, I’m your biggest fan and I love you always.
You are 16 and growing up. In coming years my role will change. I may be strict, I might be more involved than most of your friend’s Dads, but I make no apologies. I monitor your cell phone, spot checking your school projects, redirecting your writing and language because–I LOVE YOU!
I am your Daddy. I have your back. I am proud of you!
I love you more than life itself, Happy 16th Birthday! – Daddy
Images by Fred Campos, the proud Papa.