Dear Emery,
It’s your day; your birthday; my favorite day of the year. Two years ago, you made the absolute biggest impact on my life. You came into my life when I needed it most. I was a depressed, broken and sad individual unaware of why God put me on this Earth. The moment you arrived and I held you in my arms, I was certain of my path in life and that was to be your father. It was the exact calling I needed and welcomed everything you were ready to throw my way. In those two short years, my life has done a complete 180. If love in my heart was of any monetary value, I’d be the richest man in the world.

I cannot believe you are two. It seems just like yesterday, I’d be up at all hours of the night watching you sleep. There was nothing more peaceful than seeing you sound asleep. I always thought watching people sleep was the creepiest thing in the world. To be honest, I still think that, but an exception is made for parents. If you catch me doing this when you’re 20 or 30, I’m apologizing in advance.

There’s so much I want to tell you and can’t wait until we can have real conversation together. But please, please please, do not rush growing up. Take your time and continue being the most animated, energetic, loving version of you. Every single day has been such a joy watching you grow and learn. You’re such a little sponge and mimicking everything we do. From trying to put on make-up like mommy, to putting on a hat backwards like daddy, I have soaked every moment in.

I hope that trend continues as you get older such as sports fandom. One of the biggest joys for me personally is taking you to all the Shocker games. Right now, you usually make it through a half before you want to walk the concourse, but we’ll work on that. You got to meet Wu this year, but that didn’t go well.

….neither did meeting Santa. But trust me, Santa and Wu are two of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Yes, Wu is a real person. Don’t let anybody tell you differently.

Believe me when I say this, I’ll always do my best to make sure this is the most special day for you. I actually have an embarrassing number of boxes at the door for you. You’re probably going to associate Amazon as a company that only sells toys. Mommy thinks I went overboard, but I am a believer that you only turn two once. So, we are going to live it up and you’re going to be incredibly spoiled. I have the day off and we are going to experience life. Whatever you want to do whether it’s watching 10 straight hours of Peppa Pig, playing bubbles for an hour straight outside or unloading every pot and pan in the kitchen cabinets, let’s do it. I’m always going to make the biggest deal out of your birthday because you deserve it. Mark my word, there are two times during the year which I’ll always take off from work. March Madness and your Birthday. Both are almost equally important, but you have the slight edge because you’re family. If the Shockers can make the Final Four again, then we can revisit this debate.

What else is there to tell you? I’m not sure if you remember when you were 1-12 months old, but we’d always take a picture with a pizza box. Nearly every month, you hated it.

This year though was better, you even said “Cheese!” during it. Please make me a promise and do this for every birthday until you’re 18. I know the latter years will get really awkward and embarrassing, but we’ll make due. That’s what fathers are for, to put their children in the most embarrassing situations.

But all jokes aside, I hope one day you will grasp how much you mean to me. The impact you’ve made on my life is something I can’t even fully put into words. There are so many days, I look at you and pinch myself because I feel like I’m living the best dream ever. Before you came into my life, I always wondered what fatherhood would be like.  Being your dad has exceeded every single expectation I ever had. Being a girl dad was tailor-made for someone like me.

I’m not the most affectionate person, I don’t say the words “I love you” often to others. It’s just how I am, but you’ve given me this newfound capability to show and express love. You’ve made me softer and more caring as a whole. I thank you for that. I’ve teared up more times over the past two years than in my entire life. And it’s nearly all tears of happiness because of you.

One thing I’m always going to tell you is to always be you. You love to dance, you love running around, you love the water, you love bobbing your head like Ray Charles listening to music. Your favorite song right now is “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake. Don’t ever change. Continue to be the spark of personality that can light up any room. The world is a tough place and I imagine it’ll only get tougher. But you have two parents who support and love you and a family around you that will always be here for you.

You make me the proudest and happiest father ever. I constantly dream about all the adventures we will embark on as a family. Know that, life will not be boring. You have someone who’s ready to show you the world and provide you every opportunity I didn’t have as a child. You have someone who will be the biggest cheerleader in your life and if the day comes I need to wear a cheerleader outfit to prove it….. so be it but no pictures.

So with every ounce of love I have in me, happy birthday baby girl. This weekend, we are partying our socks off…. which is also important because you don’t like wearing socks.

Love,
Your #1 Fan


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