Letters to My Daughter – Part 2

Dear Chanaiyah,

Summer has come to an end, and so has my stay on Maui. I wish I didn’t have to go. I wish I could stay. I wish for so many things. Weeks have passed since I left, yet I can’t stop thinking about my last moments with you. I was still packing, still rushing, going back and forth from room to room. And no matter where I was in that house, you always seemed to find your way. Over and over again you came bouncing through that door and took me by the hand, leading me to go somewhere, anywhere. I couldn’t stop smiling because on we went, circling the living room, the kitchen, and back again. I would have walked around the entire island with you so long as you were leading the way. In those precious little moments, you showed me the absolute joy of life, which in turn reminded me to have fun once in a while. But now, I find it hard to remember such things, especially when there’s no one to take me by the hand anymore.

I had hoped that this would get easier. I guess I was selfish for believing that Icould endure this. I can’t. I know now that leaving you will always be the hardest part. Whether it’s dropping you off to your mom’s or having to say good-bye as I try to fulfill some hopeless dream of becoming a writer, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. I remember that night on the plane, I couldn’t sleep. I just kept listening to your favorite song, leaving it on repeat so that the memories of us over the summer could save me, maybe even bring me back to you. How could I forget that chorus (“a real hero/ a real human being”). That’s what I hope to be in your eyes. Not a hero, but a person, someone who exists in your life. But that night, as the plane took me further away from you, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was anyone at all, or just someone slowly disappearing.

I’m sorry for sounding like this. I’m sorry for leaving you. I’m sorry for a lot of things. Still, I’m not giving up. I’m halfway through college and each day is gradually bringing me back home. I can only hope that these next two years will go by just as fast as the last two. So right now, my only goal is to get through each semester as quickly as possible. If that means burying myself under loads of work or living in isolation so that I remain focused, I’ll do it. Nothing matters. Only you. The more I have to do, the better. Otherwise, I’ll break apart and start to wonder why I’m here, why I’m doing this. And I can’t go back to that place because when I’m there, I lose hope. But you already know I’m not going to. How can I? I’ve got you.

You don’t know this yet, but you are what’s keeping me alive. And I try to keep us alive through my writing. Every day I retreat into a world where we are free to make up for the time we’ve lost. In this world, I get to re-live the entire year since you’ve been born. From the moment I first held you, right to that shocking moment when you forced me to stop feeding you just so you could start feeding me; I embrace them many times over. Even then, my imagination doesn’t stop there. I start to think about the things we have yet to do, the things I promised you; driving you all around Maui without so much as a care of where to go, walking you to your first day of school, even taking you to see the sunrise at Haleakala. It’s calming to think of such things because it brings me back home again, with you leading the way. Now, some people may call this fictional, pure make-believe. But believe me it’s real. It just hasn’t happened, yet.

Before I go, I just wanna say thank you for making this the greatest summer ever. You’ve given me a whole batch of memories to hold onto, to keep me going. My only problem is having to pick just one. Oh the possibilities. And just think about how much you’ve grown already! Last summer you were still crawling and I was just getting used to seeing you smile. Now, you’re running around the house, turning off tv’s, and talking out loud. I can only imagine what life will be like when I come back home for Christmas. Hopefully, I’ll be the one walking through that door to take you by the hand, with a present hiding behind me. Okay, I lied, maybe two. I lied again, maybe a whole luggage full. Who knows? Just promise me you’ll be a good girl while I’m away, and in turn I promise to pave the way for a better world. I love you so much sweetie. And remember, just because I’m away, it doesn’t mean that I’m gone. I’m with you, always.

Love,

Dad

2 thoughts on “Letters to My Daughter – Part 2

  1. A Gracious Life says:

    Wow, that was really, really sweet. I used to write letters to my son and put it in a box that he’ll hopefully find one of these days. Today, I hand him my letters or stick it into his wall. The best thing is, he writes me back now! There’s a lot more wonderful feelings on the daddy journey. Enjoy them! =>

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