My Dearest Lila,
I woke up before the sun, and stood by your bed side. You slept gently. I nudged your shoulder, “wake up my dear, it’s time to get ready for school.” You rolled over while sweetly murmuring the words “ok, daddy.” I placed your school clothes beside you, and said the usual “get dressed before I finish showering or no dessert for you after dinner.” You complied, as usual–I’m pleased to say that your sweet tooth encourages you to be a good listener. You usually are a great listener anyways, but sometimes we all need an incentive to do the right thing.
My incentive is you.
Today you have a Halloween parade at school—this year you wanted to be a cheetah—so a cheetah you will be.
I think back to the days when I was your age. I think I was a ghost-buster for Halloween—maybe a ninja. Your grandpa hand crafted my costumes. He has always been a great father to me and your Aunts Katelyn and Michelle.
This year, on Halloween night, we’re all going to Trick or Treat together. Me, your mom, your step-dad and your sister, Amelia—technically it is “my year” to have you for Halloween, but I thought we should all be together as a family. Maybe they will extend the same courtesy to me next year—because after all, it’s not about us, it’s about you. I think sometimes parents not living together can forget that fact.
You gave me a hug last week after soccer practice. You wrapped your little arms around me, squeezed tight and said “I wish we could stay this way forever.” I smiled and said “I do too.” Little do you know that when you get older, you may not think I’m as cool as you think I am now—but hopefully you will always love me just the same.
I continue to stay sober for many reasons—and 99 percent of those reasons are because of you. I want to be a stable provider with a clear mind and thought process. I want to better remember our time together—and prolong that time by being healthier. I don’t want to miss opportunities to spend quality time with you—when I was a drunk I was less motivated to get up, and get out of bed. I want to set a good example for you—and not be that dad that drinks a lot of beer, or is always drunk. I never want to put you in the way of harm by getting behind the wheel after drinking—and I never want to be the drunk that dies in a car wreck, or god forbid kills someone else. I couldn’t imagine you living with that weight.
For me, I simply know it’s the right thing to do. Not drink. Though, doing the right thing isn’t always easy– I’m trying my best.
I will always try my best for you—and that is a promise.
Love always and forever,