My dearest Anne,
Exactly 8 years ago, Mummy's water broke and she looked at me standing beside her and asked, "so what do we do now?" It's been a whirlwind of a ride ever since. You have brought so many firsts into our lives. It doesn't seem that long ago when I held you in my arms, unsure as to whether we could do this, given the enormity of the task. And yet here we are, and you're still bringing new experiences into our lives.
You held my hand tonight as you slept, and I know that you dread the morning when you will find me gone to serve my reservist obligations on the other side of Singapore. You told me you wished today would not come because it meant that we'd be apart. I tried to reassure you that it would only be for a few days, but I know in my heart that every day apart is one day too long.
You handed me a short letter and told me to read it only when I was in camp. The front of it said "Bye bye Daddy", with little hearts around it. My heart breaks, you know? To not be there for your birthday.
But there are so many things we have to be thankful for. All the moments we enjoyed exploring Singapore as a family; the little routines that we have; the evening walks down Stadium Boulevard. The smallest things are always the most important, when it comes down to it. And so tomorrow I'll put on my army uniform, knowing that together with other husbands, fathers and sons, we'll be protecting the right to many more of these moments with family and friends.
Happy birthday, my most precious daughter. I know right now, as you're reading this, you're rolling your eyes and saying, "I'm your ONLY daughter." You'll always be my only Anne.
Love. Always. Daddy.
My dearest Anne,