When you come to read this, you should be sixteen. It would be 11 years from now. By then, you’ll know intimately what I mean when I say "I love you." To be honest, I can't forget your look to me now when I say those words. Being only 5, your response is as varied as the stars.
Sometimes, you would smile at me when I say "I love you". I really don't know what is going on in that little tiny brain of yours when you throw me that most disarming smile. Other times, you would be too preoccupied with your playtime to pay daddy any attention. That's perfectly fine with me because you were just being your adorable self and I’d have it no other way.
Still at other times, you would pause and look at me after my affectionate declaration and give me an unexpected embrace. The latter response always melts my heart. It’s a moment of depth and high all at one go for me. And it is also magical because that brief embrace seems to bring time to a halt. In that defining moment, I lose myself in your little tiny body of contact. I feel safe, validated, worthy, whole, complete, and fulfilled in your squeeze. That's how reassuring your hug is to me.
You see, I can be the busiest father on earth where everything is spinning out of control, but that pause, that look and that embrace would freeze everything in its place - in suspended animation - while I savor the moment and experience a paradigm shift in perspective and thought. Somehow the values I hold dear in this world take a relativistic spin and I am instantly reminded of what is truly important, enduringly valued, and intimately treasured.
My dear, that's the spellbinding hold you have on me. That's our unbreakable connection, our spirited bond that cannot be exchanged for gold, silver or bitcoin. It’s just priceless. And I want you to know that. I want you to know the impact you have on me, your smitten dad. But I guess at 5, my wish may just be a tad too ambitious. Instead, I would be contented if you just squeeze me a little longer and then return to your playtime. The result would be equally magical for me.
Having said that, I still harbor this hope that when you grow older, say 16, you’ll be able to read this love note and appreciate what an enduring transformation you have been in my life. It is a life that couldn’t be any fuller with your presence in it.
My dear Joy, you may be my daughter and I your father, but when it comes to growth and maturity, I want you to know that the effect is mutual. It's a two-way street, that is, I grow just as much as when I watch you grow under my care, love and nurture; if not more. I cannot help but grow in my humanity as I watch you grow in yours.
Our relationship is special not just because we are genetically linked but we are also kindred spirits. Our souls are connected and your joy is mine and your pain is even more so for me. I feel everything you feel even if you do not fully appreciate those feelings you are having now. Your laughter goes deep into my soul. You tears burn long in my heart. Your playfulness winds up my spirit. Even your anger - in its own childish ways - leaves an endearing aftermath.
If Achilles’ heel is his weakness, then you are mine. My heart has a secret chamber for you that is shared with none other. And I am forever changed because you have come into my life. My world is kinder, brighter, deeper, bigger and livelier because of you. So happy birthday Joy, daddy's hope, love, resilience and endless joy. Cheerz.