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A letter to my daughter

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We shall return to sports shortly.

Virginia Elizabeth,

This letter begins the same way 95 percent of your dad’s letters have over the years: With an apology.

I apologize for writing this to you and putting it on a team-specific college sports website where a healthy majority of the people who see it won’t care the least bit about what it says. Dad kept this inside as long as he could (not even a full five days), and he couldn’t think of a serviceable port other than the website he started way before you were even a glint in his eye, so here we go.

Side note: We used to call this a “blog” until all websites started doing the same things that blogs were doing and the prime minister of the internet (used to be capitalized) decided that the simplest course of action would be to just refer to everything as a website. Really hoping that websites are still around by the time you’re old enough to read this. Your mom will print it out just in case. “Printing” is something we did in the ‘90s when we — you know what, we’ll tackle that one face-to-face when the time comes.

Anyway, consider this your first very public embarrassment by way of your father. There will be many more to come. That’s the way this is going to work.

From any way you want to look at it, you arrived later than we thought you were going to. Maybe if that hadn’t been the case, every little thing you’ve done so far wouldn’t have made me tear up the way it has. If you’re reading this on your own, you’re undoubtedly old enough to recognize that as the mother of all lies.

People you don’t know have been asking about you all week. People I don’t know have been asking about you all week. It has reinforced a necessary truth that I often fail to recognize and that will some day almost certainly escape you as well: For the most part, at their core, the people you’re going to share this experience with want to be whatever their understanding of “good” is. There are exceptions, and if you ever bring one of them home, I’m going to be forced to throat rip them.

I’ll make you watch Macgruber at some point. You probably won’t think it’s as funny as I do. I’ll try not to reveal how crushed I am.

You look so much like me so much of the time. I pray you grow out of it, a line I’ve used approximately 4,000 times over the last four days. I know dad jokes aren’t supposed to be true. I’m still new to this.

Perhaps most noticeably, you have my eternally furrowed brow. You seem to be silently asking “why?” during the vast majority of the time you spend awake. It’s a valid question, and I hope you keep asking it. At the same time, I hope you learn to not take things quite as seriously as your face suggests you are right at this moment. Seriously, I’m looking at it right now and it’s hilarious. This whole exercise would have been finished an hour ago if I could stop looking at it.

In a few months you’ll start to laugh at daddy when he does silly things to elicit exactly that reaction. When you get a little older, you’ll laugh with him ... and then pretty soon after that you’ll be laughing at him again. I’m good with all of it. Just laugh as much as you can. It’s the best thing to do here. I’ll do my best to help. That’s the way this is going to work.

The greatest thing about the first few days of your life — outside of the not so simple fact that you’re finally here — has been witnessing the off-the-charts levels of love you are surrounded by. Your mother and I never had a chance. We also never had a chance to keep you all to ourselves. Your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, your cousins, hell some people I hadn’t talked to in months; they all send threatening texts if I go more than a few hours without sending them a new picture of you.

You’ll take that love for granted at some point. It won’t be your fault, but when you realize what you’ve done you’ll still be overcome with guilt. You shouldn’t be. All of us do it with all of the winning hands we’re dealt but don’t fully deserve. Not that you don’t deserve this level of love. You do. But everyone else does too. You’ll figure this all out on your own at some point. That’s the way this is going to work.

You’ll be smarter than I am. It might annoy me the first time I realize it, but after that split second it will make me so happy. The same thing happened with your mother.

I’ll try to get you into sports. Even though I still don’t fully understand it myself, I’ll try and explain why they’ve always meant so much to me. I’ll tell you about how they gave a voice to a shy kid way before I ever started this website or got a full-time job in radio. Maybe you’ll fall in love with it all the same way I did, and we can share that together.

If your primary interests lie elsewhere, believe me when I say that I won’t be the least bit disappointed. If something I’m not familiar with captures your mind, body and soul, I’ll spend as much time as I need to getting acquainted with it. Then we can share that together. I’m always going to come to you.

You’ll cheer for Louisville though. That’s the way this is going to work.

It feels strange, almost fraudulent, in this moment to be thinking of your future and how I can help you through this journey when I still have such a tenuous grasp on whatever the hell all of this is myself. You’ll help with that. You already have more than you could possibly understand.

We will be together when we’re happy (we already have been). We will be together when we’re sad (it’d be very cool if you’d let your mom get some sleep). We will be together even when we’re apart. More than anything else, we will love and we will be loved. But just know that your love for me will never be able to equal my love for you.

That’s the way this is going to work.

I love you,

—Dad