I may be biased, but your daddy is a pretty amazing guy. He has a natural ability to adapt and learn quickly, he’s competitive, he’s intelligent—but most of all, he’s incredibly hard-working. Not to mention he’s just stubborn enough to accomplish anything he really wants to do. And yet, he’s not a professional basketball player or big-league baseball player. He doesn’t run a company or travel the world like he once thought he might. With his blend of ability and talent, he could have made it to the big time if he worked hard enough. He could have done any of those things but he didn’t . . . and that’s why I love him.

Our life as it is today is far different from fancy hotels and traveling three quarters of the year. This life is hard work, it requires hands-on fatherhood, interrupted sleep, working for overtime, and fixing broken toilets on the weekends. It’s a life that is so beautifully fun and yet so messy and frustrating at the same time. Instead of year-end bonuses, he eagerly awaits the tax return to put it toward much-needed repairs for our family car. Rather than fancy meals at high-dollar restaurants, he has taco Tuesday and tea parties with his princesses.

He could have taken a better job with the higher paycheck and all the airline points we could ever want. He didn’t. He could have poured his life, every ounce of himself, into a sport and done well with it. He could have taken the large business loan and given all he had—time, energy, and talents—to go big time with his small dream.

His dreams were once much bigger than our little farm and quiet, home-every-night routine.

Before you were born we were aiming for something bigger, a life where our kids fit into the schedule of our dreams, not the other way around. But something happened—only by the grace of God—when he held you for the first time. In those precious moments, he suddenly realized a new dream. This one filled with soccer games and muddy kitchen floors, chasing after you as you wobbled down the road for the first time without training wheels, camping, bedtime battles, and middle-of-the-night assurances that there are, in fact, no “roars” in your closet.

He traded big time for small town, world travel for another bike ride around the block. He once thought he could do it all, but now he doesn’t want to. He didn’t lose his ambition, he changed his direction. Now, he pours himself into us instead of a job title. He learned something this world only teaches through diapers and tantrums and first day of school fears: it’s OK to have simple dreams.

Sometimes being important to your family is worth far more than a six-figure paycheck. Working around the clock on raising your kids well is far more valuable than seeing your name on the company sign, earning the corner office, or seeing the world and getting paid for it. His talent would easily let him “go places” but your smile reminds him daily the only place he wants to be is home with you when it counts.

Today, he works a comfortably simple job and comes home to this messy, simple life every day, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Don’t forget, sweetheart, when you think of reasons why you love your daddy, love him for all the things he could have been because he gave it all up—more money, power, opportunity to feel important—and he chose us instead.

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Laura Watts

My name is Laura Watts. I'm just another Jesus-loving mom who hopes to encourage a few people with the things I write. I believe strongly that the most important things in life are meant to be shared, including the lessons the Lord is teaching you and the joy you have been given.