Today is my dad’s birthday. Even though I almost forgot it, I managed to surprise him and make it memorable. I was discussing this with a friend who reminded me of a letter I had written years ago on a different birthday. He suggested that I publish it. I am a very private person and not good at being vulnerable or sharing my innermost feelings. Giving this letter to my dad on that birthday was a big deal for me. Thanks to I am opening up more these days. In the spirit of that and living my truth, I am sharing that letter here.

Dear Dad,

This is an attempt to make you feel special, the way you make me feel every day. But how I wonder. I neither possess your charm nor your ability to say “I love you” through your mere daily actions, and gestures. It is amazing how often I feel lucky and precious just by looking at you. The protective way you scrutinize each and everything, every person that comes near me. The way you push and encourage me during sports.

The way you try to give more love during my failures, the way you proudly pat on my back during my success. The way you accept my stupidity, my silliness with such amusement and affection. The way you argue with me like an equal, like I deserve to be your equal, on small matters. The way you sigh with adoration when I’m being arrogant. You tolerate me, is what I think— but deep down I know it is love.

This is an attempt to acknowledge that love— I feel it all the time, even during our little fights. It is this that makes me strong, makes me the way I am. I wish I can give you happiness, but I know it is only my happiness that counts for you. I wish I can endure my struggles all on my own, but I know you will not let me. I wish I can be less burdensome to you, but I know it is a prized possession for you to carry them.

I wish I can give you everything in the world, But I know I am your everything in the world. So I wonder. What can I give you, as a gift? After a far and wide search, I laugh, as I realize the answer is so simple— just by being your little girl, just by being the person you raised me to be. But I want to give more. So I start with this letter today, with the hope to make you feel special, the way you make me feel every day. Happy Birthday!

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