'I'm not perfect but I'll never stop trying': dad's letter to new daughter is too beautiful

Fathers and daughters share a special bond. No matter how old they get they'll always be daddy's little girl, and he'll be a caregiver and a role model for the rest of her life. 

That's something that new father and fitness instructor Dave Thomas knows all too well. 

After struggles with infertility and a number of miscarriages he penned a sweet letter to his new baby daughter, Willow. 

Check it out below, but make sure to have the tissues ready. 

"Dear Willow,

"Your mummy always tells me that writing newsletters doesn't count as sharing my meagre literary talents, so as I return to work after two weeks of open-mouthed staring into your cot, she asked me to write you a letter with everything I hope to share with you when you’re older.

"I’ll share my pangs of environmental guilt at bringing another child into privilege and about my fears for the planet you’ll inherit but I’ll also share my lifelong excitement at, love of, and concerns for the natural world with you. In decades to come, when you’re explaining the latest bewildering technology to me (please be a hoverboard), I hope you’ll still be an active part of an exceptional generation which finds sustainable solutions to the many problems of progress we’ve burdened you with.

"I’ll never brainwash you or force my agendas though. We will discover different perspectives, cultures and opinions together, free of the confines of political and religious dogma. I’ll encourage you to challenge everything, including me, but particularly mummy’s occasionally baffling movie preferences. Sometimes, you’ll need to learn how to toe the line, but inside I hope your mind is always rebelling against the status quo.

"I’ll share the story of your delivery; of holding your mummy’s hand and feeling a love and admiration that I’ve never felt for another human being. I’ll tell you how the first time I held you ‘Daddy’s Home’ by Shep and The Limelites came on our playlist: “How I’ve waited for this moment, to be by your side”. I’ll explain that those tears which poured out of me when I first heard and saw you weren't just expressions of utter joy. They were the manifestations of 6 years of grief which I finally felt able to express. As if an emotional dam collapsed and every one of those stupid 'feelings' poured out.

"I’ll share just how long we waited for you Willow; about the struggle which brought you to us. About examining 20-year-old mucky magazines and anxiously narrow sample cups in unerotic clinical rooms, of racing across London on a motorbike with ‘tests’ tucked under my armpit, of being in the very rare company of knowing exactly what ultrasound jelly feels like on your testicles and mostly of watching mummy maintain constant dignity in the most challenging ways as she handed her body over to the miracles of modern medicine repeatedly, without a single complaint.

"I’ll share our short-lived joys of surprise, and planned, pregnancies alongside our repeated heartbreak as they never quite made it into the light. I’ll tell you the names we gave your siblings and how they each took a piece of my heart with them. How those losses changed me irreparably and how I struggled to laugh, connect, trust, or share with people for several years…until you. It was only your mummy’s force of will and unwavering support which kept me going. I’ve never met a stronger person.

"I’ll tell you how guilty I felt as each unutterable pang of jealousy wedged itself in my gut when friends and family announced their pregnancies. I’ll explain why I’m so discreet in sharing you with the world, to protect anyone reading this experiencing those same bitter-sweet feelings of parental desire. I’ll tell you how I want you to be a beacon of hope for them. So they know that every tear, every argument and every moment of the journey your mummy and I shared made us stronger and that each painful memory simply evaporated the moment I first held you.

"I’ll share how lucky your mummy and I were to have two fully involved, loving parents ourselves growing up; of how we often hated them for imagined injustices and irrational rules, just as you will hate us at times, and yet how I now understand and empathise with the decisions they made to protect us and give us the best opportunities in life. I’ll tell you how today I nod wisely at that cliched line beloved of parents and mocked by all offspring 'You’ll understand when you have kids of your own.'

"I’ll share the many struggles I’ve had throughout life with my mental and physical health, including the time I had an out of body experience in a Chinese restaurant in Birmingham, instantly becoming one with the vast expanse and mystery of the entire Universe, and the sad-looking Peking duck on my plate. I’ll remind you that I’ll always be there for each of your struggles. There is nothing you can’t tell me, or ask me to help you with, except perhaps fashion. I hope you have decades of eccentricity and experimentation before we grab a coffee together…in sensible shoes.

"The curse of consciousness is such, that whilst you have the same basic needs as every other animal you’ll be burdened for a long time with seeking meaning in life and trying to work out who you are and what you want to be. The truth is most of us will never find a satisfactory answer. I’ll tell you that this used to get me down; that I wasted a lot of time searching for an illusionary ‘higher meaning’, and that I used to seek validation in all the wrong places. Bad choices, bad relationships, really bad hairstyles. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but the difference now is I find that liberating. I’ve fallen into many different categories in my life. None of them define me, yet all of them made me. I can honestly say that the label I’m already most proud of, is Dad. You’ll learn that categories often hold you back in life. It’s impossible to fly in a pigeonhole.

"I’ll encourage you to develop and refine your skills and talents but to understand, as I did too late, that the best way to use them is for enjoyment and to connect with others, not just for the sake of success. If you can make a career from a talent, that’s a joy. If you want to compete with your skills (cough, England rugby) I’ll always be on the sideline cheering you on. However, I never want you to achieve anything just to please me or society.

"I’ll share that I think the most important human value is respect. Love, loyalty, friendship and peace; everything stems from respect because you’ve assigned a value to yourself and others. Respect your body. Respect your friends and opponents, even when you disagree. Respect people for their worth, regardless of their background, their wealth, or how they look or sound. Everyone has something to offer the world and your journey through it, even Southerners.

"I’ll assure you that I truly believe women and men deserve equal opportunities and that I’m thankful you’ll grow up in a world with a rich variety, and tolerance for, different ‘identities’. I wish you to grow up kind and beautiful and to find someone truly deserving of your love but to always remain independent and strong. I only need to look at the hair removal advert playing on the TV whilst I write this to know society will often judge you primarily as a pretty face. You’ll be told you must look a certain way to have value or influence. But I’ll remind you that society’s whims are in endless flux. The perception of beauty changes all the time but true strength can never be found in a nail salon or in the gym; although I do expect you to have a bodyweight squat by your 16th birthday.

"I’ll tell you that I’m not perfect but that I’ll never stop trying to be the Dad you deserve.

"Finally, I’ll share that you are the culmination of my entire life, the good, the bad, the success and failures…

"…even my love for a 1987 film about a magical dwarf.

"Daddy x"


Pregnant? Get MummyPages' new updates via Messenger:

Search results for
View all