Happy Birthday, Little One: Kendley Turns Two (From Daddy)

May 18
Bordeaux, France


Happy birthday to my beautiful little girl. From the second I laid my eyes on you, I was in awe of you. You have always filled my heart with joy and have given me a lifetime of love in only two years. While you might not understand what we are doing right now, everyday that I get to travel with you and watch you grow up is a day beyond my wildest dreams. Where we are going is not important, but having you, Emy and Ollie by my side is where my home and heart is. Sobriety has taught me to live in the present and to enjoy life on life’s terms, so below are all the ‘little’ things that I am grateful that you bring to my life:

Thank you for your strong will and stubborn spirit and for yelling “mine!” at the top of your lungs whenever I (or anybody else) take something that you want.

Thank you for grabbing my face in your hands after you punch me in the nose when I ask for a kiss.


Thank you for eating more than any little girl I know, but always giving me your soggy, unwanted cheerios at the bottom of your bowl.

Thank you for going pooh-pooh in your pants every night right before I shower you so I get the unenviable task of cleaning off your ‘booty.’

Thank you for always waking up from your nap with a smile (well, almost always).

Thank you for insisting on feeding yourself and then putting more on your face and in your hair then in your mouth.

Thank you for giving me a little corner of your blankey and for rubbing my cheek when I am tired.

Thank you for always yelling, ‘Hi, buddy daddy’ every morning when I see you.


Thank you for sighing and scrunching up your nose when you are happy.

Thank you for breaking a glass at Mommy’s Mother’s Day meal (which was at one of the nicest restaurants in Nantes, France) and then throwing another one on the floor when we met our new friend Jarryd in La Rochelle.

Thank you for loving animals and trying to pet dogs that are 5 times your size.


Thank you for always sweeping the floor (with a huge broom I might add) in every new apartment that we stay in.

Thank you for hugging and loving Ollie even when he throws balls at your face and tackles you in the yard.

Thank you for running a little bow-legged and for falling on your face over 10 times a day.

Thank you for smiling and melting the hearts of even the toughest bystanders after we have gotten yelled at for your antics at every cathedral and museum we have visited (except for the ones where you are sleeping, that is).

Thank you for using baguettes in France as a club and for hitting us in the head and after doing so always yelling, ‘OPAHLA!’

Thank you for being an awful sleeper and for 90% of the time yelling, ‘Daddy, Daddy’ in the middle of the night (maybe you can start to yell Mommy more going forward)?


Thank you for always being able to get me out of my head and for helping me to enjoy the present.

Thank you for giving me a reason not to drink and for wanting to become a better man and Daddy for you.

Thank you for always making me smile and for reminding me how precious life is.

Thank you for helping Mommy to keep on ‘open mind’ to have another one of you (or Ollie).

Thank you for helping me realize that my self-worth is not found at the office or in a ‘normal’ job and that a smile or hug from you is all the recognition that I need.

They say that to love another person is to see the face of God and every second of every day, I feel like I have God right by my side.




  1. What a doll she is! She sounds like a firecracker and looks like pure joy! So glad to know your family is relishing this grand adventure you are on, Ryan. And Emy MUST write a book. She is a master wordsmith and paints beautiful pictures with her words.

    1. Thank you for the very kind words, Charla. It is good to hear from you, and I hope your family is doing well. We are indeed having the time of our lives, having just arrived in Spain’s northwestern corner and bound for Portugal with many stops along the way. Emy thanks you as well and is thrilled to have you as a reader. Stay in touch! R

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