I never knew you before you were a dad. Our relationship never had that time where we were "just us" - I mean, sure, I didn't get involved in Jess' life for quite awhile after we started dating, but even in the very beginning we were navigating our time together right alongside a kiddo schedule - school activities and bedtime and everything else that comes with that.
And yes, I'm sure it would've been amazing to get that time to just get to know you outside of this aspect of your identity, but I don't regret it one bit, and I'll tell you why...
For the first three months of us dating, I never saw you until after Jessica's bedtime. You worked all day, spent all evening with her, tucked her into bed, and even waited until she was asleep before we got to spend time together.
It was hard. It was exhausting. Sometimes it was even frustrating, I'm not gonna lie. But ultimately, you continued on the way you knew you needed to.
After I met Jess, things were a little bit easier since I could now be involved in a different way, but your time, and ultimately our time, was still extremely affected by this tiny, hilarious, crazypants person.
I spent a fair amount of that first year exhausted and sometimes even lonely.
But Christopher, this was exactly what you needed to do. You needed to be there for your daughter and you needed her to know it. Especially after going back-and-forth across the country with no set schedule for a couple of years, she needed the stability of knowing that she was really home with you.
And you were going to make damn well sure she'd know it.
And it was so beautiful and attractive and wonderful to see what a heart you had for this child. For parenthood. I know it couldn't possibly have been easy - to not only make her your priority, but to continue making her your priority day after day, regardless of the circumstances, regardless of your whiney girlfriend, regardless of everything. She needed your focus and attention and you gave it to her.
(INTERNET DISCLAIMER: This is not to say Chris was over here neglecting me all the time during this phase of life, and that I was constantly sitting home alone weeping and watching old Mary-Kate & Ashley VHS tapes or something, it was just that he had responsibilities that needed to come first, and he took them seriously.)
The point here is that I've never known you not to be a dad. I have always known you as one who loves, sacrifices, cares, and embraces parenthood, even when it's a struggle. And I am so grateful that I've been able to see you live that out from the very start.
I'm so proud to know you and especially proud of the incredible father you continue to become each and every day.
Happy Father's Day.