Dad's Letter to his Anne on her Birthday

August 4, 2014

To the apple of my eyes, my ever so adorable daughter Anne…

On your Birthday, I would like to confess to you a few things I may never be able to gather enough courage to say to you ever again.

Anne, I always prayed for a daughter, and as an answer to our prayers god gifted us with you. Words cannot explain my emotions when the nurse came over to me and gently placed you in my arms and said, “here’s your daughter”. And there you were, clad in white, my tiny little angel!!! Darling, I have always shown to the world my rough and tough side, but I am more emotional than your mamma, and if it comes to a “tear shedding competition” I would win it hands down. It is truly edged in my memory, that unforgettable moment, when my tears of joy almost got my shirt wet.

Your Mamma and I have had some memorable sleepless nights my dear, when either one used to remind each other of our duties every mid-night, each time you cried. And every time we used to quarrel, you would go quiet!!! As if to say, “Dada and Mamma, keep me entertained this way till 2 a.m at least”

Your first birthday, was one of the most joyous occasions for both of us, with your grandparents, our close friends and relatives. And today as you are 21, and as I wish you today, those memories are still fresh and I still feel that my one year old daughter, is feeding her birthday cake to me.

My daughter, it has been more than a year, since I last saw you when I came home during vacations, and it has been more than four years since you decided not to talk to me. I have never said it to you all these days, something stopped me from shouting out loud to you “I miss you Anne, I miss you calling me ‘Dada’”. I miss wishing each other “good morning”, “good day” and “good night”. I hope we get the chance to live that life again, where we can start living together with love, laughter and happiness. We can certainly go out shopping, have a walk together in the park and beaches, watch movies, play your favourite game of soccer and playstation. Why not?? For your dada is still young, and will be young forever.

You have all the reasons to be disappointed with me, you are justified to have been expecting so much from me darling. You know what, I always thought I was the “perfect father” who could afford anything and help you grow up. And now when I look back, I did manage to give you all that you wanted but, I had ignored the most important thing, ‘to be with you and show you how much I love and care’.

As you grew up, I remember telling your mom time and again, “Celine, don’t you think our Anne is losing her track and she is no longer the adorable child who everyone loved so much? You are her mother, you should ensure that she grows up with discipline and self-respect.”

Anne, as I recall, and now in the aftermath, I have only myself to blame.

Your teachers at school usually complained about your rude behaviour towards your classmates, staff and friends, the abusive language that you used, your stubbornness, and violence. It wasn’t your fault dear, now I realise that you only followed the things mom and I used to do in your presence at home. And you were not mature enough to know it was not the right thing to do. It was all, my fault.

You were once suspended from college for carrying cigarettes and liquor in your bag. You carried it from home, didn’t you? So it was my fault again. I am sorry.

You were once caught stealing a good sum of money from our locker. You just wanted to celebrate your birthday party with your friends, who had also invited you for their parties previously. It was done because I always used to let you spend excess amount of money, because you were my only daughter, and for the world to know you were “my daughter”. It was again my fault.

You always said this boy Brian, the one with pierced eye brows, tattoos all over his body, a little addicted to alcohol, smoke and drugs was a very rich man’s son. He cared for you a lot, gave you all that you asked for and more, was the one you had chosen to live your life with. And when I didn’t support you, you cut your hand with a blade, tattooed his name on your neck, scribbled messages on your wall and one day finally you absconded with him. 

Let me tell you Anne, I was having a wonderful family life with a decent income there in my hometown. I was never satisfied with it. As I grew up in a middle- class family, I always wanted to be very veryvery rich and powerful. I dreamt of owning a bungalow, luxury cars, a business empire. My greed eventually led me to sacrifice my family life and brought me here to the middle-east. I succeeded, as I can afford anything now. But I failed, to be a good husband, a good father and a good son. And you my daughter, were yearning for paternal love, and eventually tried to seek it from another man. And he broke your heart. Remember Anne, only your father, can be your father. And I had failed to be one for the longest time.  It’s my promise you will get your father and his love.

You do not know the distress your mom and I were in, when we lodged a police complaint to try and find you. We eventually found you, and you were not the same. After a month, you looked down, depressed to the lowest, lost everything that you had. In my absence, your mom took so much pain, counselled you, helped you continue your studies, seek emotional help and supported you so much that you will never be able to thank her enough. The reason why today, you are the best student of your college can only be your determination, hard-work and empathy you have developed from your mother. And daughter you make us so proud.

Anne, will you call me “Dad” once again? Will you miss call me at +971 ******* and I shall call you back and you shall know just how much I love you and what you mean to me. I can’t tell you in words how much I miss my people and how much I am looking forward for a new beginning back home, with MY FAMILY.

I love you Anne, may you have a wonderful birthday, and a blessed future. Your father has showered all his blessings to you and pledged to spend all the rest of his life… WITH YOU!!!

John Fernandes, Director and chief Mentor at SPEEDEX mentorship solutions. I would appreciate any feedback on this work. Kindly e-mail