25 December 1982

So, this was the last present I opened this morning. When I pulled it out of the paper, I started grinning like a fool and confused the heck out of your Grandpa Jack. He had no idea why I was so excited until your mom explained.

You see, when I first met your mom, it was at the train station when we were eighteen. We rode the train together from Pennsylvania to South Carolina and, periodically throughout the ride, I saw her reading from a journal. She told me that her father had written it for her, starting when he found out her mother was pregnant with her and, since she thought it was such a cool idea, she told me that was how she was going to tell her husband whenever she got pregnant.

I think she was kinda surprised I actually remembered.

We can't wait to meet you, little one. And, I gotta say, I really hope I don't disappoint you as a dad.

17 April 1983

Your mother is crazy, little one. Just so you know. You'll probably be very aware of that by the time you read this but whatever.

She's about five months pregnant with you and has just started showing. She freaked out this morning because she couldn't find anything to wear for the Easter dinner we were having with her parents. I tried to calm her down and she threw a shoe at me.

I honestly didn't know your mother had such good aim.

24 July 1983

You're a girl! You're probably thinking "Duh, Dad, I know that." But hey. Cut me some slack. Those ultrasounds aren't exactly the most reliable thing in the world so, technically, I just found out.

Sorry, baby girl. You don't get a spectacular story to go along with your birth. I'd just gotten home from a field exercise and the first thing your mother said was that we had to go to the hospital. Scared the heck out of me, but she was calm.

We went, we waited, and a few hours later, you were here. I couldn't believe I was a dad, even after the nurse handed you to me.

According to your grandparents, I couldn't stop smiling. Well duh! The birth of your child is pretty much better than every birthday and Christmas combined.

But still, in all of this, the one person I wanted to be there was my own mom. But, she died when I was six. So there was no chance of that.

She would've loved you, baby girl. I know it.

25 July 1983

We brought you home from the hospital today. Your mom was literally bouncing when she got you out of the car and walked up to the front door. She wanted to show off the room we set up for your nursery.

Your grandfathers helped me build the furniture and paint the room the colors your mother picked out. Your grandma Joann didn't think she had to help with any of the set up. She did knit a blanket and an outfit for you though.

I'm still hoping I don't royally screw up as a dad.