To My Darling Daughter on Your First Day of School

September 2, 2014 at 9:00 am 7 comments

You are five years old and it’s time for school. When I tell others about that they all say the same thing: it happens so fast. I disagree. It has been a long time since you were born, so long I barely remember life without you. I take that as a sign that you and I are doing great. Though my heart is always full of fear and doubts about how well I am doing as a father, I honestly feel like we have made the most of our first five years together.

Finding My Place

From a father’s view, the first few years of a child’s life can feel very mommy-centric: the tests, the doctor visits, the actual birth, post-natal care and so on. That makes perfect sense because mom actually has the babies. Dads can feel like we have a lot of catching up to do and we don’t get a lot of notice. We can become a distant second in mother’s life as she tries to meet the demands of motherhood.

But then as your child grows older there are moments where fathers can begin to shine in their children’s lives. For me, being a part of your educational experience, selecting and preparing an educational plan for you, is one of the most important things I can do for my children.

Today, my sweet daughter, you will attend your first day of school. I have been thinking about this day from the moment I knew I was going to be a father. I have been imagining how wonderful it will be to gently nudge you from your drooling slumber and remind you that this morning you will be starting a new stage of your life. I have been looking forward to making your lunch the night before and adding a special treat to the lunchbox. Sometimes, however, life takes a turn that you don’t expect and plans don’t unfold as you intend. Just know that I will be rising the same time as you tomorrow, getting dressed and preparing to meet you at that front door. I will probably cry, so be ready for that.

The Big Day

The first day of school always has a certain magic. I have many great memories from my childhood of that early morning ritual: new clothes, cereal, toast, milk, note books, and being so very tired. My dad drank that disgusting coffee stuff that I can’t seem to go a day without now.

It’s chilly in the morning but will probably be sunny and warm by noon. The leaves are beginning to turn and there are buses, buses everywhere. You will see many new faces. Some may become life long friends. Everyone is in new clothes and everything feels fresh. It is a very special day.

You will see a new world open up for you and when those things happen to us we are never the same. I know this because it happened to me the day you were born. I am excited to see what you are like in school. I want to go sneak over to the school, peek through the window and watch you be a kindergarten student. Schools frown upon that, though. I will have to be content with sitting at work today, imagining it’s going well for you, and hoping something doesn’t happen to cause your teacher to think “what the hell kind of father does this girl have?”

Where We Go From Here

When this special day is done I will ask you how it went. I’m going to do that for the rest of your school life, too. This will probably annoy you by the end of the week yet I will still do it. When you’re about 35 you might realize it was just me trying my best to keep a connection with you.

As you move on to this next stage in your young life I have one big wish for you: I wish for your school experience to be as good and even better than mine. I made some amazing friends that to this day remain as close to me as family. The memories I keep of my time in school are precious to me. I hope you create some lasting memories, too.

Everything we have done together, my darling daughter, has prepared you for today. You are more than ready for this. I love you and I am so very proud of you.

Now, it’s time to go to school.

Entry filed under: Being Dad. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

He Found It A New PTSA Papa

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Nana  |  September 2, 2014 at 9:23 am

    I’m feeling so teary-eyed this morning knowing she’s off to school and after reading this I’m really blubbering. Beautiful, as always.

    • 2. Hop Dad  |  September 2, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      Thank you so much. She will be carrying with her all of the love you have given her since she first arrived.

  • 3. Brian Leitch  |  September 2, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Beautifully written Scott. This brought memories “flooding” back to me and running down my cheeks of when my kids were at this stage in their lives. As I write this, I am waiting for my Amanda to come for a visit and to help her fix the latest clunking noise on her car.

    • 4. Hop Dad  |  September 2, 2014 at 11:48 am

      Thank you so much, Brian! I’m glad you have wonderful memories of your moments with your kids, too. Good luck with the auto repair, Dad!

  • 5. Shelly Tennyson Taylor  |  September 9, 2014 at 10:28 am

    That was absolutely beautiful. My daughter started Pre-K this year and I completely understand. It is so refreshing to see a father’s view. Not just a go to work each day, kind of father, but one who is really involved in and cherishes their children’s lives. Beautifully written.


    • 6. Hop Dad  |  September 10, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      Thank you very much, Shelley. This is an amazing stage of my daughter’s life and I want to make sure I do my best for her. – Scott

  • 7. To My Bright and Sunny Six-Year-Old | Hop Dad  |  July 1, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    […] greatest accomplishment was the completion of your first year of school. I will never forget that first day of kindergarten. As predicted, I cried as soon as I saw you outside of the school that morning running excitedly […]


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