Dear kids,

It's Father's Day. I know that you have all been working on some sort of surprise. You're trying to put on a play in our basement like it's a Broadway production. You've been scribbling on paper pilfered from our printer supply. It's all hush hush and I'm not supposed to know about it. You want this day to be great. Because I'm your dad and you love me.

Sometimes, that's hard for me to grasp that concept. It's easy for me to understand why I love you. I can overlook all of your flaws because I know that you were all born into this world with some unfair disadvantages stacked against you. I can endure your bad days because your good days make you shine like stars. I know that when you make mistakes, it's because you're learning. You're trying to figure out how to be a functional human being in a world that celebrates dysfunction. When I see how much you're accomplishing I find new ways in which I can brag about you without shame. I know you're not perfect but you have a good excuse. You're kids. And it sucks to grow up.

But me? I'm not a perfect dad. I don't have an excuse. I'm the grown up. When I hear you say stuff like, "You're the best daddy I could ever have," there is a voice inside me that wonders, What did I ever do to deserve this? I could explain in a million ways why I love you, but sometimes, the reasons you love me are elusive.

Sometimes, I just don't get it.

But that's not your fault. You don't need to try harder. Just be who you are. Through all of the laughter and tears, the whispers and yelling, your moments of fear and joy, discovery and repetition; you have become the highlight of my existence. The three of you are my biggest blessing.

Today, it doesn't really matter if I deserve the love you show me. The fact is, if I'm doing my job correctly, you will learn to love others who least deserve it. Even if that other person is me.

So give me your surprise that I'm not supposed to know about. Whatever it is, I'm sure it will be great.

Sincerely, your dad.

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