A Letter from Daddy…
The following appears in the June issue of Lake Norman CURRENTS magazine in my monthly “Thoughts from the Man Cave” section.
Check out the e-pub at www.lncurrents.com and have a fantastic Father’s Day.
A Letter from Daddy
By Mike Savicki
Dear Caroline –
I know you are not quite three and it will be some years before you are actually able to read this letter, and more before you are able to understand the emotions and feelings behind the words, but I still thought writing to you this Father’s Day might be a great way to share a few lessons I have already learned from our time together.
So let’s start at the beginning. I have always been a planner. In the days before I knew I’d be bringing you and Mommy home from the hospital right after you were born, I remember doing test-drives to study every curve, memorize every bump and familiarize myself with the speed limits, intersections and traffic flow. I wanted to be prepared, safe and ready when the big day came. But the moment we clipped your carrier into the seat base and start moving, something magical happened, I got caught up in the magnitude of the moment and forgot everything. My emotions took over and I found myself simply awestruck and amazed by what was happening.
Lesson number one. Prepare as best you can but never let preparation get in the way of seeing the magic and mystery of the moment.
I am learning that being a Dad doesn’t come with instructions. Late on one of the first nights home, when Mommy needed to sleep for three hours between feedings, she handed you to me then rolled over on her side and closed her eyes. I held you swaddled in my arms and never moved a muscle. Why? I didn’t know what else to do. When Mommy awoke, we laughed because she had to peel you from my arms because my body had frozen in one position. Everyone was fine.
Lesson number two. When you aren’t sure what to do, trust your instincts.
Sometimes I’m too stone faced. Before you could talk, we began playing a silly game where one of us made a face then the other person copied it. For lack of a more creative name, I call it “The Face Game.” What’s great is that no matter what faces we make along the way, like happy, sad, scared, surprised, startled, humbled, confused, or amazed, we always end the game with smiles and laughter and that makes me feel more connected to you in a way words can’t.
Lesson number three. If you want to connect with someone, truly and deeply, look him or her in the eye and give a smile that starts in your heart. Chances are good that they will smile, too, and you will connect.
A new father doesn’t need any extra incentive to worry. I worry about you all the time. There are the toddler worries, like not wanting you to trip, fall or get sick, then there are the lifetime worries, like not wanting you to get seriously ill or injured physically, emotionally, or psychologically. But, to be honest, I don’t know what kind of world is out there waiting for you and I am learning there is only so much I can worry before it overwhelms.
Lesson number four. Be aware and worry sometimes but allow yourself to experience that which might be outside your comfort zone and you will see beyond your fears.
I am different from most Dads because I’m in a wheelchair. Sure, I can roll 40 miles an hour down a hill in my racer (and that’s cool) but I cannot climb a flight of stairs (and that stinks). What I have learned, and what I want you to remember as you meet new people, is that we all have differences, some more visible than others, and we are all unique and special in our own ways.
Lesson number five. Embrace the fact that you are different and do your absolute best with what you have.
Looking ahead, talking about love isn’t something a Dad is trained to do with his daughter. Sure, there are books out there with lots of different stories that back theories but when I think about doing it with you, I get nervous. Sure, I’ll probably scare off a few boyfriends, and I’ll likely stand in the way of a few other possibilities actually reaching the front door, but I’ll never get in the way of you being in charge of your life and embracing your passions.
Lesson number six. Be proud of the woman you will become, and be self-confident and brave, too. And remember, I may not have answers but I’ll always be a shoulder for you to lean on when you need it.
Oh, just one more thing. By the time you learn to read, and you get this far into my letter, I will have already read this to you one thousand times, mostly while you were sleeping and I was stationed outside your door making sure the monsters stayed away. I will have cried almost every single time.
My final lesson, Caroline. It’s okay to cry.
Happy Father’s Day.