For all fathers of daughters, here is a Valentine for your memory book, beautifully written by a local author, Brandon Schnabel. See if this rings a few bells.
A Father’s Wish
“May my daughter always know love is contagious.
“Tradition tells us to embrace Valentine’s Day with chocolate, candy, cards and gifts. But nothing is more valuable and rewarding than the love of a child.
“My daughter is two and a half years old, and as her daddy, I still get to be her special Valentine daddy. She is still years away from school yard bullies, fleeting crushes and broken hearts. Today she is still my little girl, full of innocence and love.
“Her sweet little voice greets everyone we meet as we walk through a store or around the block. She still tells them Merry Christmas when we leave, and I haven’t the heart to correct her. She runs, plays and cheerfully shouts with abandon, never afraid of others’ opinions about her or how silly she might look.
“Her heart is full and she is the epitome of unbridled love. She’s brimming with manners, excusing my wife and me when we sneeze, or even herself when she does the same. She’s frequent with ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ and is too young to be concerned about candy hearts, cards from boys, dinners and dates.
“I worry for the future when the challenges of life and growing up present themselves. I worry if she will change from it, and I worry about what pieces of that innocence will be lost because of it.
“I will do all I can to protect her and to guide her as we move along this journey. Some years she may love me to pieces; others, she may want me to leave her alone. Someday she’ll fret over phone calls from boys, grow anxious over dances at school and have less time for me as she grows into her own.
“I hope she will always know of the place she holds in the hearts of her mother and me. I hope she will always know how she was a miracle in our life.
“I hope she will always remember her kindness and manners and treat others with love and respect that the obstacles and trials of life do not allow bitterness and negativity to set in but instead shape her into a strong woman full of generosity and compassion.
“I want her to know that love is not defined by candy, chocolate, flowers or gifts. I want her to know that true love is determined by actions and words, by building up not tearing down. It is defined by empathy, not judgment. It is defined by acceptance, not criticism. Most of all, I want her to know that love is contagious.
“She won’t always come running to me when she scrapes a knee. She won’t always climb on my back or swing in my arms like an airplane in flight. She won’t always want me to fix a toy or put together a doll house or brush her teeth and hair.
“In time she won’t always need her daddy as she moves on, grows up and finds new loves on her own.
“But forever, she will be my daughter at least for today.”