Dear Malia,Today you turn 5 years old. I’ve only known you for a little over 2 of those 5 years but we’ve come a long way.
I remember the first day I met you. I was super nervous. If you can believe it, I was never too comfortable with little kids. I remember we picked you up and took you to IKEA. On the car ride, your mom played “Black and Yellow” by Wiz Khalifa and you were shy at first, but you loosened up and started singing the chorus.
At your 3rd birthday, I came to your party and it was the first time I met your Grandma Cora, your Papa JC and the rest of your family. When we were opening your gifts, I was sitting next to you and I got up to give you more room, but you wanted me to stay and sit next to you.
I remember the first time you got upset at me. We were leaving the apartment and on our way out, I opened the door but didn’t undo the chain. You were so eager to get out that you stuck your hand in the crack of the door and while I closed the door to undo the chain, I pinched your fingers on the door. You cried and you stopped but it wasn’t until I apologized for pinching your fingers that you were your normal self.
When you weren’t used to me, you would always want Mommy. There was a 50/50 chance that you’d want Mommy to get you when I would try to get you out of your carseat. I don’t remember the last time you said that.
I remember all the times you call me “Daddy”. When you first said it, I didn’t think much of it but as our relationship grew, it means a lot more. I always correct you, I never set out to replace your dad but I’m honored that you would look at me in that way. Especially as you’ve grown older, smarter and more aware of what is going on around you.
I remember your “Target phase” when we would look at the website and shop for toys and clothes for your future baby brothers and sisters. “What else do babies need?”
You’re such a loving little girl. Shortly after you could figure out that I wasn’t just Mommy’s “friend”, you would ask when we would get married. Or how you always run and hug me when I pick you up from school. I love that your classmates, who I never really learned their names, would always tell you, “Malia, your Dad is here to pick you up!” I love that they just know.
You make me so proud when the little things I teach you stick. Especially when you take off your shoes and put them to the side. One time, Mommy and I called you while you were with your dad and you yelled at him! “Put your shoes away! Someone could trip on them!” At a girl! Or the time you were sleeping and said, “Awatap”. You still get grouchy when you’re tired or sleepy (who doesn’t), but now you’ll tell us instead of us having to guess.
And you’re so smart too. You know almost all your letters, you can write sentences as long as we tell you what letters to write. And you can carry a conversation. I laugh when people still talk to you like a toddler. Little do they know you’re capable of regular conversations. You love to talk about your Uncle Clyde, my old dog Kaylah, the story of when you were born or the story of how me and your mom met. Both times.
You’re such a strong little girl. I can’t even imagine what it’s like constantly going back and forth to two different houses. But you’re still a normal little girl who likes to play with other kids and play with your toys. You like to make up games with all your Littlest Pet Shop toys. And I love that whenever you come back from your dad’s house, you bring more toys from his parent’s house to our apartment and tell us that you’re “moving in”.
I know sometimes I’ll get upset at you and I know I can be annoying when I constantly tell you to do things. I only do it out of love. I know you’re not of my flesh or blood, but I treat you as one of my own. Now and forever. I know I tell you I’m not scared of anything but one of the scariest things a man wonders is if he’ll be a decent father. Your future brothers and/or sisters should thank you. You’ve taught me that I’m more than capable of being a “real” father one day.
Happy birthday Lia Bear.