Kendra Marie, your first decade unfolds in my mind as some of the best years of my life. Although I'm happily impressed and beyond proud of your growth and all you've achieved thus far, I will shed a few tears for that little bundle that grew before my very eyes and turned into this willowy vision of beauty and unabashed joy I never anticipated.
I was a mess through most of your first year. I worried sick about every little thing that might get in your way. I read so many parenting articles, and loved being able to get you anything I even thought you needed. For all my worrying, you were never a risk taker. In fact, most of time I held you close to me, you stared at me while sucking your little thumb into a prune until you fell asleep. You laughed most of time you were awake.
You said very little, but never missed anything. Mommy taught you the love of singing and dancing and music became a huge part of your life.
I hoped to help you discover the love of books, and soon I'd read Dr. Seuss to you every night I could.
You were a fun little toddler. Never too much of a fuzz unless there was a good reason. Mischief wasn't a part of your personality although when you did, it was epic.
Before pre-school, you became a big sister. I never would've expected the way you loved your little sister. You've been patient, nurturing, and often come down to Amber's level just to keep her happy. You are the best big sister a kid can have.
I could go on and on telling you stories of your first days in school, your summers in the pool, the way you simply asked to have your training wheels removed, the many pieces of art work you created, the crafts you messed the house with, and more than anything, your incomparable
You've made being a father easier than I ever expected.
You're bright and inquisitive, but never reckless.
You cheer those around you and put everyone you care about before you without hesitation.
You're intelligent and pretty without letting it go to your head.
You've grown into a lovely girl and it's a bit of a shock to find you at the grownups table more and more.
Somehow, with a steady diet of nothing but pasta and bread, you've grown so tall and that serious, studious attitude you displayed as a toddler has carried through the years, making me think you're older than your years in mind and spirit.
But you're ten years old today.
When I hear you sing, when I see you smile, when I see your friends greet you with a warm embrace, when I hear you chatter about your day, when I know you dream, my heart swells with a unique kind of pride I've never felt over anything in my life.
The next ten years of your life will be years of growth. You will slowly find the kind of person you want to be, and I thank God for granting me the chance of walking next to you as you advance down the road of life.
What an adventure you've been, my little girl. You've taught me as much as I ever hoped to teach you, and I will always guard and defend our relationship as father and daughter though forever relishing our friendship.
Happy birthday, my Kendra Marie. When it comes to express what it means to me to be your father, mere words fail me in every known language.
But suffice to say that as I look through the pictures that tell the story of the little baby that transformed into the girl before me today, my eyes fill with tears of unnamed emotions that restore my faith in the universe itself. You are my validation, my motivation, the source of my strength, and I love you like no parent has ever loved a child.