For My Daughters When You’re Old Enough

Dear Katy and Lauren

As I sit down to write this post, you’ve recently turned ten years old and have started fourth grade. There will come a time when I let you surf the internet without parental guidance. Perhaps when you turn twenty. But when you do and if you happen to Google your old man, this blog is one of the things which will likely turn up. And if you go so far as to check to see what I’ve been writing about, I wanted to leave this post for the two of you to find.

It is not possible to have two children more loved by their parents. I want you to know that giving up my career as a letter carrier with the U.S. Postal Service to become a stay at home dad is one of the best things I ever did. When you were born nearly eight weeks early, your mom and I decided one of us needed to stay home. This decision has been just as tough on her, as she missed out on doing things most moms get to do.

Working long hours at a job as demanding as UPS means less time she gets to spend with you. In the early days she traveled up to three weeks a month for six months out of the year. Being torn away from your newborns to fly half way around the planet is very difficult. The next time you see your mother, make sure you tell her how much you appreciate what she’s done for you.

You’re both growing up so quickly, I can only imagine what you will be like by the time you find this post. We know school is not always easy for the two of you, but you both work so hard to do well, I know you will both be successful, no matter what you choose to do.

I could not ask for more loving children. Everyone who meets you loves you. I can’t go out in public without being asked where you are, when you aren’t with me. People assume the three of us are attached to the hip. When you were born, you were my kids. Now people I’m your dad, as you two are the stars.

By the time you read this, we will have had some of the conversations which scare me the most. Talks about sex, female issues which roll around once a month (your mother gets this one, but I fear the times I will be brought into the conversation) and what to do about boys.

You laugh now when I talk about threatening any boy who comes near you with a big stick, but by the time you read this, you will know I mean it. Any person who ever tries to hurt you will have to deal with me. I’m a really gentle kind of guy, except when it comes to my girls.

There are other things I worry about, such as teaching you both how to drive, paying for your college education, and how to make sure you have all that you need in life. But that’s what moms and dads do. So don’t text and drive. Hell, don’t even play with the radio and drive. In fact, taking the bus is not always a bad thing.

When I go to book signings, I always get them to sign the books “To Katy and Lauren, When You’re Old Enough”. If I haven’t shared the books with you yet, ask me about them. Perhaps you’re at the right age to read them.

Today you both came in the door and gave me a hug without being prompted and I can’t tell you how happy that made me. I’m sure there will come a time when hugging your papa will be embarrassing, but I hope not.

So do me a favor. After you finish reading this, if you can, find me where ever I’m at and give me a hug. Your old man will surely always need one.

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