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A letter to my Daughter

Dear Aoife,

For 8 months I dreamt about what it would be like to finally meet you, what you will look like and how you will sound. It seems like you were thinking about the same thing, and at 35 weeks +2, you decided it was time to say ‘hello’.

6:59am, Tuesday 29 November 2016

Interesting fact, 29 November is not only mine and your mom’s wedding anniversary (1st full year married), but it is actually the date that we started dating back in 2004. Which in case you are interested was a Monday. I had just turned 16 and your mom was 15. We had developed a friendship over the space of a few months and I remember us falling in love pretty quickly, saying ‘I love you’ by Christmas time. The years went on and we became closer and closer, growing and developing as adults together. Probably surprising a lot of people along the way. One year became two years, and two years became three, and so on and so on. In that time I had been to University and earned a degree in Fine Art, your mom had gotten a job in the Birmingham Law Courts to help support your granddad, and after a few years of saving we had bought our very own house. By this time we had been together for 10 years and we were both 25, shortly after moving in I proposed and of course your mom said yes. Being creatures of habit, we set the date to get married as 29 November 2015, on our 11th anniversary. It was a beautiful day and in some ways I wish we had decided to have you earlier, it would have been perfect to have you as a little flower girl. Your mom looked absolutely beautiful, her dress was stunning and the whole day was perfect.

For the brave and faithful, nothing is difficult.

How I felt

I knew I wanted to have kids all my life, I look up to my mom and dad so much and have always felt an urge to be the same kind of role model that they were to me. That’s not to say that as a teenager, in particular, I always agreed with my parents, including saying hurtful things, but now that I’m older and wiser I can honestly say I respect and appreciate my mom and dad more than anything else. They’ve created the foundations for you.

I was so excited when we decided it was the right time for us to start having children. I had a good job at Woodbrooke as a senior marketing officer and your mom was starting her nursing training through an access course. The day I found out we were pregnant with you, I was just over the moon, the feelings are almost indescribable. Fear, love, happiness, anticipation, scared, joy. It is a huge mix of emotions.

It took 20 weeks to find out you were going to be a girl, and I never entered into the idea of wanting a son first and then a daughter, but when the nurse said ‘It’s a Girl!’ I knew from that moment you would be my princess and I wanted so much for you to be a daddies girl. Of course my mom and dad were over the moon with a granddaughter. I think they were sick of looking after two twin boys.

On 28 November 2016, your mom thought her waters had broken (ask her about what happened at 30 weeks) obviously as I’m sure you will learn, I was a little sceptical, I just had 1st January as the due date, so the prospect of you coming in late November did not enter my Mind. After waiting a while and it being pretty obvious that your mom’s waters had broken,  we headed to the hospital with all of our hospital bags and after about 6 hours of observations and going through the motions, you were ready to come out. It is a strange feeling as a husband and soon to be father, because you see your wife in pain and discomfort, but at the same time there is that feeling of excitement. All I wanted to do was see you. 6.59am you were delivered, and taken straight from us to be wrapped up and checked over as technically you were premature.

Aoife means “beauty” from the Gaelic word aoibh

After about 15 minutes you were handed to us in a big ball of towels and we had about a minute to hold you and kiss you. This is all very weird. You spend months dreaming about what it will be like to have you, then suddenly, there you are and it just does not feel real.

What’s in a name?

Aoife means “beauty” from the Gaelic word aoibh. In Irish legend, Aoife was the greatest warrior princess in the world. I wanted a name which reminds you to always be strong and to stand up for those who need it.

O’Keeffe Family Motto

“For the brave and faithful, nothing is difficult.”

“Do na daoine ata croga agus dilis nil a dhath doilligh”

You will face difficult and challenging situations as you grow up and go through life, but I want you to think about our family motto. If you are brave and face things head on, you will sail through life. I believe in you.

What I want from you!

Some parents will say they want their child to be a doctor or a lawyer or whatever. The truth is, I just want you to be, you! There is not a guide-book for life, you have to choose what is right for you. I chose to buy the house and have a family, and be successful in work. My aim was never to be the richest man financially, but I want to be able to provide for you and be there as a rock for your mom, I wanted to be the richest man in every other way. You and your mom have made me the richest man. So remember, chase your dreams and be brave. Stay hungry, stay foolish.

My promise to you

I will always be the best Dad I can be and the best husband I can be. I cannot promise I will get it right all the time, or that I will not get mad or frustrated from time to time. But I can promise that I will always love you and will always put you ahead of myself. I will always have time for you and want to teach you everything I know in life so that you are a bigger and better person that I am. You can rely on me to be there and I will always be open and honest with you. Sometimes I will tell you things or ask you to do something and although I know at the time you are unlikely to always agree with me, I am trying to guide you from my past experiences.

I love you Aoife!


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