Dear Holly: Why I Call You “Squeaky”

4 years, 2 months.

Dear Holly,

Ever since you started really talking, and especially now to the point you are actually chatty, the name I have called you has been “Squeaky”.

You have a soft, sweet little voice, that often sounds sad for no reason.

Any time you tell a story, you often begin with, “Yeah, p’cause…” as if it needs some melancholy explanation.

You make things sound so sad even though they are not actually sad at all.

So to me, the naturally name for you is Squeaky.

Anytime you call out to me to tell me something, with “Daddy…”

I instantly respond with, “Yes, Squeaky?”

That has become the norm for us.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You’re Really Starting to Look, and Act, Like a Little Girl

1 year, 10 months.

Dear Holly,

There are certain weeks that I especially notice how much more you look like a little girl and less of a baby who happens to be a girl.

This has been on of those particular weeks.

Now your blonde hair is beginning to quickly turn brown. It’s also finally getting a bit longer, and when we put a bow in your hair, it reveals your pretty little face.

You’re now less than 2 months away from turning 2 years-old.

Now, you walk.

You’re beginning to talk.

And this past weekend, you even decided to use the potty instead of use your diaper.

One of the reasons I write these letters to you every week is to help prevent living the cliche about kids growing up too fast.

By examining pictures of you each week and documenting my perception of what you life was like that week, it helps me to put into perspective the little things I might otherwise be overlooking.

Clearly, the theme of this week is this: Holly is really starting to look, and act like, a little girl.

I feel especially close to you in that since October, I have been working from home. So you and I spend a lot of time together. I get to see what you’re like during the day time when you used to be at school all day.

You and I have built a special bond. I understand that part of it is that you’re learning to communicate more anyway.

But still, I’m grateful that in the midst of my branch closing where I used to work, I am able to enjoy spending my hours now taking care of you; while getting work done while you’re asleep.

I know that I will always cherish this phase of our lives, where we got to spend more time together than perhaps the average father and daughter would.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: I Can’t Imagine Having a Daughter I Didn’t Completely Adore

6 months.

Dear Holly: I Can’t Imagine Having a Daughter I Didn’t Completely Adore

Dear Holly,

I love you in a way I’ve never loved anyone before. You have completely added to my quality of life over these first 6 months of your life.

It reminds me of a song called “Everything” by Lifehouse, which is actually a song about God. However, there is a line that I feel completely describes the effect you have on me:

“How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?”

It is beyond my comprehension that throughout the history of the world, including now, there have been and still are fathers who don’t feel the same way about their daughters as the way I feel about you.

I cannot relate to the concept of a father brining a daughter into this world, only to ultimately abandon her, neglect her, or simply not completely adore her.

Before you and your brother were born, it was quite normal for me to consider what the meaning of life was.

However, this is the first time since 2010, when your brother was born, that I’ve thought about “the meaning of life.”

Because since becoming a parent, I haven’t needed to think about that.

God has given me great blessings and great responsibilities: You and your brother.

I don’t take my role as your Daddy lightly. I’m a big deal to you both, whether I want to be or not.

The outcome of your life is largely based on how I express my love to you and your brother.

And while I love your brother just as much as I love you, there is undeniably a specifically different role in being a father to a daughter, as opposed to a son.

I simply must adore you and nurture you and guide you and protect you and lead you.

Anything less would simply be heresy.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: I am Your Fitness Instructor and Speech Pathologist

9 weeks.

Dear Holly: I am Your Fitness Instructor and Speech Pathologist

Dear Holly,

One of my exclusive daily responsibilities as your Daddy is to make sure you’re being physically challenged in your exercises. So when I’m home, I do exercise time with you after each feeding.

You curiously love to stand up while I hold your hands. This seems peculiar to me, in that you’re only 2 months old. But yes, you stand on your feet for several minutes at a time before you need a break.

It’s funny because you always stand with your feet perfectly together; never in a regular stance.

Sometimes I pretend we are having a father-daughter dance, jokingly signing “Cinderella” by Steven Curtis Chapman. You totally go along with it, not knowing any better.

But while it is a joke, I look forward a lifetime of dancing you with as your father.

After you get tired of that, I turn you over on your stomach, which forces you to attempt to crawl. You have every reason to cry within in a few seconds, yet you never do.

Instead, you are always inspired to keep trying to crawl until I finally flip you back over due to your puddle of drool.

In addition to you having an obsession with maintaining mobility, you also are getting very serious about learning to talk.

During our exercise training, you also will smile at me and starting talking:

“Grrrr-ooowww-ahhh…”

I’ve learned that as I make random sounds back, you try to imitate them.

You’re also fixated on trying to roll all the way over from your back to your stomach.

Rolling over from your back to your side is easy for you at this point. My favorite time was last weekend when you were laying down on your play mat, smiled at me real big, then just threw your whole body into immediately rolling over.

It was as if to say, “Hi Daddy, bye Daddy!”

We have fun together! I am your fitness instructor and speech pathologist.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: I Never Realized How Badly I Needed a Baby Girl

1 week.

Dear Holly: I Never Realized How Badly I Needed a Baby Girl

Dear Holly,

For years, I was convinced I was perfectly happy having only a little boy. But now that you’ve been in my life for a week, I realize I was wrong. I needed a baby girl in my life.

I love everything about your brother; he’s the perfect little boy. With you here now though, I see that you provide the proper balance to our family.

Dear Holly: I Never Realized How Badly I Needed a Baby Girl

With your brother, I get to be rough and crude and adventurous, as I should be with an all American boy. I get to drive through the mud with him and take him to PG-13 rated super hero movies that some say are inappropriate for him. I love that I get to feel sort of rebellious in parenting your brother.

Dear Holly: I Never Realized How Badly I Needed a Baby Girl

With you, I get to make sweet cooing sounds directly into your face as I stare at you for no less than an hour at a time as I hold you. I am so in love with you.

I have never got to experience this before. Despite being a parent for 5 and a half years, having you here is completely different. You are such a sweet, adorable, and mesmerizing little girl.

You’re so easy to stare at. I love your amazing little smile. I love your uniquely folded ears. I love your tiny little cry.

Had you born a boy, I would have been just as happy; because I couldn’t have known what I was missing. I already knew how much I loved having a son, so I knew things would have been great.

But instead, you were meant to be Holly Joy. I was meant to have a daughter.

I’m not saying there’s no possibility of you never having a younger brother or sister… but I do know that our family has never felt so complete- like the way it does now that you are here.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: I Never Realized How Badly I Needed a Baby Girl