A Letter to My Daughter on Her 5th Birthday: Tales of a Single Dad

Joseph Scialabba is a single father from the Chicago area who  unexpectedly lost the mother of his child to drug addiction. This blog   post chronicles his experience with raising a female child alone in the  21st century.


I write letters to my daughter often, on her birthdays, holidays, or any time I feel I need to tell her something that she may not quite understand yet. I do these so I don’t forget an important message, and because I know someday I will be gone.

Dearest Daughter,

The past 5 years with you have been the greatest time of my life, to watch you grow into a little girl has been a truly amazing and humbling experience. You excel at everything you do, from gymnastics to school and art. I see glimpses of your mother all the time in you, from being difficult to get out of bed, to you being a social butterfly with other kids wherever we go. While I'm sad she isn't here to share this with us, I know she lives on in you and that makes me proud.

For all the chaos that your early life was, you have grown into a child with a big heart and a sharp mind. Your hunger to learn and touch everything in your life is a daily inspiration to me. I know sometimes I'm not around as much as I want to be, but understand baby, that daddy’s out working to make sure we have all that we need for our little family.

I know I'm not great at braiding hair, or Barbie playtime, these things are still hard for me, but I'll keep practicing until I get them right. I only hope to do the best I can to provide for you and show you that the world is big, so your dreams should be too. You have every ounce of my strength in your wings, and my last breaths too if you need it.

To watch you find new friends on the playground reminds me that children are all that is innocent in this world, hate is not something you are born with; it is a learned behavior that someday hopefully you may see a world without. Humans are imperfect beings, we don't trust ourselves much, and that causes some to do horrible things.

I hope to raise you to be well prepared for any and all avenues, and for you to know how important you are to me and the world. I know all parents probably think it, but I believe you are destined for greatness. You see, you gave a life purpose, a reason for being, and those were the gifts you gave me, which I dedicate my life to showing you I don’t take for granted. Your father was a lost soul, like your mother, the greatest thing that happened to me was you coming into my life.

There will be plenty of time later for me to put fear in the hearts of your future boyfriends, and teach you how to drive, and for us to travel as far as the sun reaches. For now, I’m just soaking up you being a kid and reminding myself to let you enjoy it too; childhood doesn’t last nearly as long as it used too. Those endless days of summer used to seem much longer. For now go play in the dirt and ride your bike as fast as you can. Daddy’s here to look out for you, and your moms watching over us both.

Happy Birthday.


Meng Meng, one of two Chinese panda bears in the zoo Berlin receives a birthday-cake to mark its fourth birthday in the enclosure at the Zoologischer Garten zoo in Berlin on July 10, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / TOBIAS SCHWARZ (Photo credit should read TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images)
The Pursuit of Happiness

The Pursuit of Happiness

Ken Webster Jr is a talk radio personality and producer from Houston, TX. He started his career in Chicago on the Mancow show and has since worked at dozens of radio stations all over the country. He’s currently the host of Pursuit of Happiness... Read more


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