Dear Olivia

Dear Olivia,

                When I was a little girl, my head was full of dreams. I dreamed of being a beautiful princess, on a quest to slay a dragon and save the prince from an evil curse.

                Of being a space explorer, discovering new worlds and new life forms.

                Of being a famous singer/actress/athlete, amazing the world with my ability to do everything better than anyone else.

                Of being elected President and making the world a better place for everyone.

                Of being a “boring old Mom” and just loving my children

                The tone of my dreams changed—sometimes daily, depending on my mood. But in almost every dream there was a man who shared my life. In some dreams, my “dream man” looked like my favorite singer, my favorite actor, or my favorite classmate. No matter his name or who he resembled, there were a few things that were always true about my “dream man”:

                He made me laugh.

                He made me feel safe.

                He made me smile.

                And above all, he made me feel loved.

                No matter what I did, how I did it, or what mistakes I made (because even in my dreams I couldn’t seem to not make mistakes) my dream man loved me. Unwaveringly. Unconditionally.

                The same way my Daddy loved me.

                Because, you see, my Daddy has always been my hero. He has always been my safe place, my protector. Daddy is my laughter when I want to cry, my cheering up when I feel down, my pushing on when I want to give up.

                If you are still reading this, and as we have never met face-to-face I can’t say I would blame you if you had stopped reading by now, you are probably wondering why I am telling you this. That answer is pretty simple. From what I know about you, you feel the same way about your Daddy that I have always felt about mine. You have a very special relationship with your Daddy, one that is so touching to witness. His job in the military makes him a hero to many Americans, but no one else will every look up to him quite the same way that his little girl does.

                I want to thank you, Olivia, for sharing your Daddy. I know it can’t be easy to be away from him for months at a time. My imagination might work overtime, but I won’t claim to be able to imagine what that would be like. As hard as it must be for you to be without your Dad, you show such deep strength in your ability to do it.

                We hear a lot about the sacrifices made by our troops and by their spouses in order to protect our country. I don’t think enough people think about the sacrifices that are made by military children. They seem to be overlooked, maybe because the kids are so young. But I want you to know that not everyone has overlooked your sacrifice. Thank you for sharing your Daddy, your hero, with the world.

                Sharing your hero makes you a hero.

                Love and Prayers,

                Lynn McMonigal

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