A letter to my daughters on my 48th birthday

new binocularsGeorgia P and Lila Jane, my sweet girls.

Today is my forty-eighth birthday.

I wish I were at home with you today to celebrate. But I’m traveling for work this week in California, where I grew up and went to school. We’ll celebrate together when I get back.

It’s so incredible to think about how much the world has changed from the time I was your age until now.

When I was your ages, we had rotary-dial telephones, vinyl record players, and televisions.

Today, we watch music videos of astronauts on the International Space Station and listen to our favorite songs on high-resolution smart phones that are thinner than a chocolate bar.

The first astronauts to reach the moon landed there when I was about Lila Jane’s age and 8-track tapes hadn’t even been invented yet!

The world has changed a lot in the nearly half a century since I was born.

And today, even in the short time since mommy gave birth to you, the world continues to change at breakneck speed.

Over the last few weeks alone, our family has witnessed some remarkable cultural and social milestones in our country that neither mommy nor I could have even imagined when we first met each other in 2008.

Affordable health care for the less fortunate among us; marriage equality that will help bolster family life and remove a stigma from many of our sisters and brothers; and a new dialogue on racism in our country that — mommy and I hope — will make our country a much better place to live for all people.

I’m more proud of being an American than I ever have been. You are Americans, too. And I’m glad that you two are growing up in a world more tolerant than the one that mommy and I grew up in.

Our family and our life together make me think a lot about how the world has changed and how it is changing every day.

You are changing and growing, too: every day you surprise mommy and me with new vocabulary, new games you like to play, and puzzles you solve. And every weekend, when we play music and sing in my office, you amaze me with how quickly you learn new melodies.

But more than anything else, you both amaze mommy and me with your sweetness and your empathy. We’ve seen both of you take care of one another when you’re hurt or sad. And we love the sweet kisses, caresses, and pats on the back that you give us to show us that you love us.

Today, I’m forty-eight years old and I couldn’t be more proud to be your father. You fill our lives with light and joy and I can truly say that these years, since you were born, have been the very best of my life. I never could have imagined the change that you would have brought into our lives. And every day, I know I am blessed to be here with you and mommy.

Thank you for the best birthday I’ve ever had, sweet girls. Thank you. I love you.


binoculars for kids

6 thoughts on “A letter to my daughters on my 48th birthday

  1. My father would write us (his daughters and my mother) letters on his birthday and on father’s day… it is the greatest of treasures to find them, re-read them, and re-discover their profound truths. I had to tell you how touching it was to read this; I could not help but think how fortunate your daughters are to have this beautiful message. I too was incredibly fortunate to have had an extraordinarily thoughtful and loving dad, and grateful to have these tangible reminders to carry through adulthood. Happy Birthday, Mr. Parzen!

  2. thanks for all the birthday wishes and the kind words… Isabella, I sure hope that Georgia P and Lila Jane will enjoy reading these posts some day. So cool to hear you share that story here. And so much fun meeting your family the other night! Thanks…

  3. sorry to be so late with a comment! their love for you is a reflection of the demonstration of your love for them. lucky ladies, lucky daddy :) thanks for leaving such sweet words for them, 2B. love you!

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