January 28 2010: This might be the most important thing that I have ever written.
The words that meet the page today will resonate in every story I tell my newly born daughter about her very first day. Everything I did (a little over the speed limit on the way to the hospital), everyone I met (east coast couple with 7 kids and newly- turned-thirty-year-old-guy whose mother thinks he needs to meet a “nice” girl) and every detail (sitting here at 2am to capture all the things that are running through my head) is frozen in time. No matter what I do from this day forward, January 28 and every moment that made it, will be with me forever. I’m a Dad.
It started earlier today when Sonja went to her weekly appointment with our doctor over 90 minutes away from where we live. I did not go. Before you consider ill of me, I did ask repeatedly but my presence wasn’t required…and we were betting that our daughter would be born next week. Yes, I know, I should have known better. Hey, our due date was February 12th! Oh yeah, today there was in a snowstorm. Yeah, yeah…way ahead of you..I suck.
Sonja’s water broke when she was taking off her boots in the doctor’s office (there’s a joke there somewhere but I’m too tired to find it) sending “16 year old dad-to-be”, his “girlfriend” and a waiting room full of people into a high school health class refresher with 3-D graphics.
I got the call at 9:44am that the time, I waited for most of my adult life, was at hand….and proceeded to gyrate like a belly full of Mexican food for five minutes until I got my bearings or hit a wall….that part remains a bit of a mystery. Either way, I freaked our three dogs out.
Now, I would like to tell you that I did not rush off like a fool (I may revise this part of the story when I tell my daughter so I appear a little cooler especially when she approaches driving age) but I would be lying. I drove like a NASCAR driver on espresso chasers. I drove with purpose. I drove like someone who would do anything to arrive in the most important place he has ever been.
As luck, fate or whatever you want to chalk this up to would have it, I made it. I saw my daughter born. I saw Sonja be the bravest person I ever seen and I saw my life change forever. I took everything in. Everything. I made every part a highlight clip for my own TSN turning point - the very moment when the most important thing about me, wasn’t about me.
Sarah Maggie Teljeur was born January 28 at 11:57am and weighed 6lbs and 11 oz. Funny how something so small could be the biggest part of me and everything I do from this day forward.
All my love to you
Hello Sweetheart. I hope that when you are old enough to read this, I will have been around long enough to tell you everything I wanted to tell you about me, about life and everything it has for you. If I leave you and this world before that happens, I am so sorry. So sorry that I traded even a second to do anything other than being with you and be your Daddy. I hope all the things that I write to you will give you some comfort.
I know you must feel sad today and alone but you will have some great people to help you and you can never have enough of those in your life. When I wrote this letter to you, it was so hard knowing that when you read these words I won't be there with you to share them. Although I am gone, I will never be far away.
Being your Daddy was the best thing I ever was or ever did. You changed my life and made me want to be a better person. You made me think in ways I had never thought before. All you had to do to make that happen was to be you. You might read or hear about how I tried to help people. Hopefully I did that. Maybe even made a difference to some....this was all because of you. After you were born I spent a lot of time trying to help others. I was always getting myself into some project or taking on some cause (It use to drive your Mom nuts). Many people had a hard time understanding that how I could say you were the most important thing in my life but then do things that would take me away from you.
Sometimes I would be gardening until it was so dark outside I could barely see what I was doing. After, I would walk in the house and you would be asleep. I remember each time being so sad that I did not give you your kiss when you were awake and so angry with myself that I had given that time up that I could never get back.
Maybe this will help explain things to you...when you were very young, we almost lost you a couple times. Daddy promised God each time that if He kept you here with him, he would do everything he could to help others. I guess time will tell if I ever fully paid my debt with God but it was one I would do in a heartbeat to keep you safe and healthy - eventhough that would sometime mean I couldn't be with you.
I hope the other letters I have written to you will remind you of me, our times together (some you may remember others you may not) and most importantly... how much I loved you. While I hope that you will take some of the advice I give in them, I know you will call your own shot...you are my daughter afterall.
May life be kind to you and may you be kind to it. I will always be with you. Love Daddy