I wish I was strong enough to solve it for you, but I can’t. All I can do is give you a place to rest your head. My only way to help is to pet you until you’re calm. I can kiss your soft little girl’s lips and tell you, “Daddy loves you.”

To me, that doesn’t feel like it’s enough. I want to stand in the middle of the road, cursing at the hurricane as it passes overhead. I want to chop away at the weeds that hold us in place.

You’re my little girl, and I’ll hold you close. I’ll hurt you when you need to hurt; I’ll be gentle when you need my love. I’ll make the tough decisions when you’re overwhelmed. I’ll sweat so you can be cool. I’ll freeze so you can be warm. I’ll breathe into your mouth, so you don’t drown. I promise you that I won’t give up. Dump your pain onto my back until it breaks, and somehow, someway, I’ll find a way to keep going. Sinking more in-depth into the quicksand, I’ll pull us both out. I’ll climb, and climb, and climb, carrying your weight. All there is in me is the fight. All I know is that I love you, and this is who I have to be. Anything less is dishonest. Anything less. I wouldn’t be a daddy.