In a few short weeks my wife Miriam and I will be welcoming our first born, Isabella. The approaching of this holy and awesome life-changing event has, in recent weeks, caused me to pause time and again to reflect on my hopes and prayers for my daughter and the world she will someday help to shape and then leave to her own children. I decided it would be good to write down my thoughts and personal reflections in a letter to my daughter and share them with all of you. As much as I would prefer to write this letter immediately after her birth, I know well enough that changing diapers, late night burpings and time well spent simply admiring with wonder and awe the great gift God has entrusted to us will leave little time to put to writing my thoughts. So now is the time to do so.
My dear Isabella,
I imagine that at this point you can’t fully comprehend the great joy you have brought to so many of us, not just your mother and me but your grandparents, godparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends. You may not be aware, but countless persons, including some you may never meet, have held you in prayer for these past nine months. They have shared in our joy and provided strength and encouragement during times of fear and anxiety.
None have cared for you more than your mother, and I know as you grow you will increasingly know and appreciate that very same love as it will never wane. I can promise you the love a mother has for her child is unlike any other I have seen or experienced. In a real sense you already know this. Cherish this great gift as it is precious and from God himself.
As your father I am overwhelmed by the love I too have for you as it is a type of love I have never before known. I can still remember the day your mother came into the room to tell me she was pregnant with you, our little miracle. Those two lines on that pregnancy test cried out a joyful song, almost angelic. My love for you has only grown over these nine months and to now hold you, my little baby, is unlike anything I have experienced before. It can be scary to be a father but, more than anything, it is an overwhelming joy.
I will be your protector and guide, ready to help you navigate your way. Along life’s journey there will be challenges and difficulties. The world will continually try to tell you what it means to be a girl and woman. All too often that message will be nothing more than a litany of lies reinforced every time you have to innocently pass through a checkout line at a grocery store or catch a glimpse of the trailers for the new fall offerings on network TV.
While the world will lie to you and tell you to be a woman means you need to be seductive, self-focused and indulgent, your mother and I will be there to remind you of what the gift of your life and womanhood truly mean.
As your father, I will tell you that you shouldn’t place your faith in the prevailing culture and its promises of happiness but instead look to those who know and love you for guidance. We will remind you of your true worth and value as a child of God and help you to find the path to authentic fulfillment and true success.
What does it mean to be truly successful? Blessed Mother Teresa said beautifully, “At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in.’” True success means being close to the God who loves you and making a gift of your life for the benefit of those you encounter along the way.
Your name “Isabella” means “consecrated to God” and it is no coincidence your mother and I chose that name for you. You belong to Him and we are so happy he has entrusted you to us. We will give you our best and teach you what it means to love and be loved. Above all else love God and always seek to grow closer to Him. Stay close to Christ and His Church. There you will find the purpose of your life and the gifts that will allow you to grow in faith and find the strength to endure when things become difficult.
I have no doubt that God has great things in store for you. You are unique and unrepeatable. There has never been another one of “you” and there never will be. That is a sure sign of God’s infinite love for you and cause for us to celebrate and rejoice in your birth. Nothing can compare to the great happiness you have brought me and the love I have found holding you, caring for you and dreaming a great future for you.
Daddy loves you and always will.