My “Annual” Father’s Day Letter to Caroline
From the June 2016 issue of Lake Norman CURRENTS magazine (in print and online at www.lncurrents.com)….
“Dear Queen Elsa…”
A “royal” Father’s Day letter to his daughter
By Mike Savicki
Dear Queen Elsa of Arendelle –
It’s amazing how much has changed in the year since I last wrote you this Father’s Day letter.
First, there are those “age appropriate” positive milestones. You are growing by leaps and bounds. Using both real and imaginary words, you are talking up a storm to each and every person, not to mention stuffed animal, cat, dog and duck you encounter. And when the clothes fairy forgets to come while you are sleeping, you are taking the lead on picking out an outfit for the day, proudly modeling with a smile whatever combination of pants, skirts, dresses, bath robes, tops, ski hats, ribbons, socks and boots you select. Or omit.
As for the challenges, some say the “threes are more difficult than the twos” so let’s just say if I had $1 for every time you ask “why?” when Mommy or I ask you to do something, I’d already have your college tuition paid. And if I had another $1 for every time you say “no,” I’d have the mortgage paid, too. But with every battle, tantrum, breakdown and timeout there has been a hug, kiss, hand hold and reconciliatory smile so I consider myself fortunate.
Then there are the Frozen inspired traits that define you at this stage. You chew your hair “because Anna does it” and you only answer to “Queen Elsa of Arendelle” not your real name or any of the dozens of nicknames or pet names I try to call you to catch you off guard. I’m just glad you haven’t yet gotten engaged to a boy you only just met but I’m sure that will be coming.
[Note to daughter when you are older — it was hard to discipline during your Frozen stage when I had to begin our serious talks by addressing you sternly as “Queen Elsa” without smiling and laughing.]
What has also been incredibly memorable this past year is how you developed a personality and became self-confident enough to share your thoughts and opinions no matter what they might be.
Like when we first drove by a town athletic field where big kids were playing soccer in matching uniforms and I tried to explain to you about teams.
“Daddy, I already know two things about teams,” I recall you saying. “Teams should do only good things, not bad, and teams should always be good to each other.”
If the world listened to the simple logic of toddlers like you, it would be a different, perhaps better place.
You also have developed a knack for bringing me to the moment as opposed to allowing me to “stick to the plan” and always look ahead at what’s next.
For example, when I stay up late at night preparing deposits and paying a big pile of bills then leave an orderly stack of outgoing stamped mail on my desk only to awaken the next morning to find all the envelopes opened with contents strewn across the floor, you remind me your actions were done with good intent.
“Daddy, I opened the mail so you don’t have to,” you exclaim with a smile of pride.
How could a Daddy get upset?
Or on those many times when I’m trying to buckle you in the car seat and you are laughing, squirming, and otherwise trying to evade me especially when we are on the fringe of being late. When my frustration begins to boil, and I’m on my own second or third deep breath after a heel to the temple or a toe in the ear, it’s usually your words that bring me to the moment.
“Don’t worry, Daddy,” you say. “It’s going to be just fine.”
And it usually is.
While I have tried to capture so much of you this year with pictures and video, there are some moments I’m glad I missed because they found their permanent place etched in my mind.
Like the joyful picture I now keep of you running across the backyard, then around the flagpole and back, with the dog in hot pursuit. As your toddler legs and tiny feet fly through the grass and you laugh out loud and say, “Daddy, I’m going on my run like you and Mommy.” Struggle as I did, I know it was just better to watch and enjoy than reach for the camera.
Or when, out of the blue you say something that catches me completely off guard. Like when you first said to me, “Daddy, you are my hero” then gave me a hug. No video could ever capture either you sharing those words or the emotions I felt in that moment and, if I had my hands full with a camera, I surely would have been late to the hug.
So, on Father’s Day this year, Queen Elsa, thank you for being who you are, thank you for being both a good learner and good teacher, and thank you for making every day feel like Father’s Day.
Oh, I almost forgot, thank you for always freezing the bad people with your powers of snow and ice.
Your Marshmallow Man