So… Jon wanted to commemorate Edie’s first Valentine’s day, so he wrote her a little letter…

To my baby girl on her first Valentine’s Day,

When you’re five, a little kid will deliver your first Valentine. It will be a paper card with your favorite cartoon owl and a punny tagline like “Hoooo-hoooo loves you?” You’ll read it out loud when you get home, and it will make you laugh until your tummy hurts. You’ll sleep with it on your night stand, and forget about it after it falls under your bed late one night.

At eight, your suitor will up the ante. Your card will say, “I’m a sucker for you,” and it’ll include a handful of your favorite raspberry-flavored lollipops. When you get home from school, you’ll pin up the card onto your bulletin board next to the school picture your admirer gave to you–the one you hung right next to yours. You’ll add more glittery stickers around the two of you to draw more attention to the perfect couple that you are.

When you’re twelve, you’ll probably get your first piece of jewelry: a little bracelet with a heart on it, or maybe a necklace with a birthstone pendant, if they’re really paying attention. You might even receive a special hand-written note to you in a card that folds and closes in an envelope. You may not show that one to me and your mom. You’ll wear the jewelry until the metal leaves a little green ring on your skin, showing that it isn’t as real as you thought it was just about the same time you realize the love wasn’t, either.

You might get your first kiss at sixteen on Valentine’s Day–and no sooner, if your mother and I are lucky and did a decent job of raising you. And I can only hope you’ll be comfortable enough with us to share that news, too. Whoever you choose, that lucky person better be a smart kid, and respectful, and kind and caring. If they’re not any one of those things, bunny, find someone who’s good enough for you. No, not just good enough. Raise your standards. Find someone who is amazing and brings out all of your best qualities, just like your mother has done for me, and like I have done for her.

But today, my dearest Edie, on your first Valentine’s Day, I am here to give you your first Valentine. I hope when you’re older, you’ll cherish this as your best Valentine. The truth is, you stole my heart the moment you were born, and while I’ve recovered bits and pieces of it in the months that you and I have gotten to know each other better, it will never be the same. It’s grown fuller and learned to love in so many different ways since you came along. I’m a better man, and it’s all because of you, bunny. While I teach you things, I hope to keep learning from you, as well. You should have high standards of me, as a father, and hold me accountable, too.

I’m the man who loved you first. The one who loves you most. And the one who loves you best. Today, tomorrow, when you’re five, when you’re eight… Twelve… Sixteen… Thirty… Seventy… You get my point. Nothing you could do will ever change the way I feel about you. You’re a part of my heart, and I’m a part of yours. If you always remember that, you’ll know that I’m always nearby. I’m with you in all the decisions you make–good or bad. I share in everything you feel–all the joy and sadness. I will always be here for you, Edie.

With love,
Daddy