When I first started this job I was a new dad learning how to balance being a father and husband with the responsibilities of a brand new working environment.
I knew next to nothing about being responsible for a child, let alone a little girl who had me wrapped around her finger from day one. For the life of me I have no idea how she's turning 2-years-old but I really cannot imagine my life without her at this point.
I've known since before she was born that I was going to be a useless puddle of mush in her hands and would do whatever she wanted. The problem is that even at this young age, she has figured that out as well. I've never been the tough alpha type so the fact that I melt for her is no surprise; it just amazes me how much I melt.
When she smiles at me, points and yells DADDY! I can feel myself ready to burst with pride and happiness. At the same time, I'm still learning to fight the urge to run to her side when she cries and screams for me during a temper tantrum, knowing full well it's just the terrible 2's making an appearance.
She can already run faster than me and I have a sense she's already smarter than me. Somehow none of that matters when that little hand pulls me by the finger to go anywhere from the bathroom to brush her teeth to the car to go see her grandparents.
I love seeing her play with her friends at school, though I suspect, as she gets older I'll have to keep a closer eye on her around the boys. And it has been incredible to see her develop what I'm sure will be a lifelong friendship with her cousins, including two little girls who are also celebrating birthdays now.
She has already shown she has her mother's personality so it has been an absolute blast to see how outgoing she has become not only with them, but also the total strangers she waves to walking down the boardwalk during her first real summer.
Trips like that where she stays close to me while exploring the world are an example of a defense instinct I never knew I had in me. It was one thing when she was in the stroller and I knew there was nowhere she could go. Now I make sure she stays close to me and if anyone even looks at her the wrong way I keep her extra close to keep her extra safe.
If there is one thing I've learned over these two years it's that I still have so much to learn. Looking at pictures from when she was first born taking baths in the sink and sitting in her bouncy seat for hours on end I can't believe how the time has flown.
All I know is I'm a lucky guy to have such a wonderful gift as my daughter and can't wait to see what the next year brings.