This post didn't benefit from Jenny's editorial genius, so please forgive the grammar, auto-incorrect, and other errors.
My sweet Bailey,
A year ago your mama and I were sitting in a hotel room, jet lagged, mildly culture shocked, and waiting for a phone call telling us it was time to make our way to meet you. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a nervous wreck, somewhat in disbelief that this wait, which seemingly was going to last forever, was finally coming to an end. Time to be the father to you that for close to a year I had so desperately wanted to be.
As we drove to your location, I felt the weight of the wait getting lighter. Eleven months of watching you grow up through pictures, finally over.
Watching you emerge from the house, Nike headband and all 15 pounds of you, is a memory stitched on my mind and my heart forever.
I remember those first few minutes so vividly - holding you for the first time, holding your hands and helping you walk, watching you with mama.
Bailey, you have added so much joy to my life since first laying eyes on you. Your personality is so much fun. I love how much you love to talk, love to laugh, love to help and do some of the things you see mama and dada doing. (Luckily that hasn't come back to haunt me. Yet.)
I love watching you absorb and process new information. You are a sponge and you love reading and learning. I love watching you count (up to 6!!) and begin learning the alphabet (up to G!!). I love watching you wave to people that sit near us in restaurants, or you pass by in a store. While I don't want you talking to strangers without me or mama with you, I hope you never stop being friendly. You never know who might need to see your smile. I know I look forward to it each and every day.
As your dada, this first year has been one I'll never forget. We've been able to spend a lot of time together. Your mama and I were intentional about reserving a lot of time for the three of us to get to know each other and become a family. I hope and pray that you sense the unconditional love we have for you.
You have given me so many moments that bring huge smiles to my face – The way you yell “DADA!” when you see me come up from the basement for breakfast, how you yell down to me when you and Mama get home, your big hugs, our goodnight kiss routine. You kill me when you ask me to play when I’m still working.
Your little voice and the way you say so many phrases makes my heart smile. You get so excited about many things, big or small. I hope that never changes.
I am so proud of you, Bailey.
I am proud of how much you’ve grown. I’m proud of how active you are. I’m proud of how much you’ve learned. I’m proud of you and your growing vocabulary, your good manners, and how well you listen, usually. :-)
Selfishly, I’m so proud of your sleeping habits. Please don’t ever change those. Ever. Your mama and I love getting a good night’s sleep. THANK YOU.
Thank you for giving me a glimpse of the pain God went through as He watched His Son suffer on the cross. Not in anyway comparing it, but watching you in the hospital and ER rooms struggling through the various health challenges you’ve face has been one of the hardest things for me. It is the closest I want to get to understanding that pain. Helpless and unable to make you all better are some of the worst feelings I've had to process. There's nothing fun nor easy about watching you suffer. I’m praying that 2014 is an easier year on your little body. My health, and our health insurance, need it. :-)
Without knowing it, you’ve helped me improve my prayer life.
I pray for you every day, praying for God’s goodness and blessing on the girl you are becoming.
Praying for health, praying that God will give you a big, purposeful calling on your life.
Praying that you will know God and have a relationship with Him.
Praying that He will use you to make the world a better place.
I love you, my precious daughter. I hope and pray that you see, feel, and know just how deep my love is for you.
Happy “No More Waiting” Day.