Dear Daddy,

It’s impossible to believe as of July, I’ve have lived exactly two-thirds of my life without you here on earth. You died far too young. We didn’t get a chance to have many important conversations, you weren’t here for the majority of my biggest milestones, you’ve never met my husband or children.

Yet I don’t feel like I grew up without a father. Somehow you taught a little girl a lifetime’s worth of lessons, values, goals, character, and love in the short time you were here.

How did you do it, Daddy?

How did you leave such a lasting impression on me that, to this day, I can still hear your voice inside my head and feel in my soul what you would say in any given situation?

How did you do it?

How did you make sure I felt so loved and valued when you were so busy at work making ends meet for our family?

How did you do it?

How did you instill such strong morals and values within me when you passed away before we could ever have such essential talks?

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How did you do it?

How did your voice get so deeply ingrained in me that I became the ultimate goody-goody in high school out of fear of disappointing you as you watched from Heaven?

How did you do it?

How did you instill such confidence in me that I became a strong athlete, an honor student, a hard worker?

How did you do it?

How did you raise three kids who would turn out just fine? How did you teach us love, kindness, compassion, generosity, work ethic, maturity, humor? How did you equip us with the tools to handle any adversity we’d face in life?

How did you do it?

How did I immediately know you’d love and approve of my spouse when you never got to meet him?

How can I completely envision the grandfather you would have been to my children?

How do I do it, Daddy?

It tortures me to know how much you and your grandkids are missing out on. You would have been crazy about each other.

How do I ensure they know their incredible grandfather, whom they never got to meet? How do I pass on the best parts of you, the parts you can’t share in a photograph?

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How do I do it?

If my children can inherit one-tenth of your quiet strength, loyalty, work ethic, speed and athleticism, ability to find the positives, sense of responsibility, intelligence, quick-witted humor, infectious and often embarrassing laugh, they’d be doing exceptionally well.

How do I instill these values within my own kids, knowing full well there will be times when I’m not standing there right next to them?

In all you’ve passed on to me and taught me, perhaps the biggest lesson of all is how fleeting and unpredictable time is and how we should never take one second for granted. Because of you, I cherish every single moment.

You lived and loved big, Daddy, and you’ve obviously left a lasting impression.

How did you do it, Daddy?

How do I do it, Daddy?

Andrea Hope

Hi! I’m Andrea, a chronic over-analyzer who strives to find the beauty in everything. I’m an educator who learns more from my kids than I teach them, a healthy lifestyle enthusiast who can’t live without chocolate, and a perfectionist who maintains a very organized mess. I love nothing more than adventuring and exploring with my high school sweetheart and our four kiddos. Come visit me over at StrollerSavvy where we celebrate, commiserate, and embrace all moments of this incredible journey called motherhood.