I really do not know how or where to start this post, so watch out it could be a rambling one!
I have been trying to write this in the run up to your big 21st Birthday today, yet here I am at 11pm on the night before without a word typed, drafted or even planned out on paper.
My aim with this post is to let you know how amazing I think you are, wish you a happy birthday, go through our history together and hopefully make you shed a tear or two.
I guess we should start somewhere at the beginning and give this some context to those reading this very public post from a Dad to a Daughter!
So the beginning, for that we have to go way back to October 2000, you were 4 years old and didn't have a clue who I was, but little did either of us know that would change! The reason being that your Mum and I had been on one of our first dates back then (yes readers I am not Ashleigh's Biological father but I am very much her Dad).
I remember knocking on the door at the start of one date with your Mum, knocking on the door at your house to pick your Mum up, and this little voice from the top of the stairs shouting "Mummy who is that Man". Many weeks later we finally met and you was this shy and very polite young lady with bags of confidence.
Months turned into years and our relationship grew, you probably didn't realise it then, but I hope you do now, thanks to you and your Mum, I am the man and Dad I am today! Knowing very well what I was letting myself in for when your Mum and I started to get "serious", you gave me drive and passion not just in my personal life but in a work capacity as well. I inherited a fabulous daughter and for the first time had somebody else in my life to look after and depended on me! I wanted to provide for both of you which meant I had to stop coasting at work and try to carve a career for us all!
Introducing you to my family was one of the scariest things your Mum and I had to do as you could never be 100% sure what the reaction would be, but like many people when they meet you, that cheeky grin and infectious laugh, they welcomed you into the family with open arms!
Holidays for me were suddenly not about raving in Ibiza but having great pride and joy showing you the world and seeing your reactions to flying for the first time! Having a job that allowed me to do the school run with you as well as going in to read your book before the start of the day was a real pleasure!
When we grew as a family and Little Geek entered the world with drama that her big sister would have been proud of, you made our lives so much easier than it could have been having a new born baby in the house!
Katy is very lucky to have you as a big sister and we were very lucky that you wanted to be involve and help out when she was little, having only been a parent to a 4 year old and up, the baby parenting was all knew to me! You were a god send when I was learning the new roll of nappy changer and we laughed through my many failed attempts at putting a nappy on properly when Mum was out doing the food shop or your sister grabbing talc or sudocrem and making a right mess! Always keeping an eye on me to make sure I was going it right..... although a little to quick at times to tell your Mum when I had done something not to her liking ha ha
You have continued to be very protective of her ever since (yes even when you are both moody in the morning!)
You make your Mum and I very proud, looking back at the video I made below. You have grown from strength to strength and a fantastic young lady making her own way in the working world!
Yes we clash at times (show me a father and daughter who doesn't) but we are and always will be there for each other, please don't ever change, continue challenging everything in life and carving out your own path!
No matter how big you get I am always here for Daddy Cuddles when you are feeling down or tired.... or hungover!