It just doesn’t seem fair, you know?
I mean, I don’t hold anything against you. How could I? You are guilty only of good things, papa. The warm night snuggling beside you or at the foot of your bed, I loved those. They were some of my favorite things. Not to mention the treat you’d grant me from your very own hand, and that smile when you’d drop, look me in the eye and say “That’s my girl,” with a comb of your fingers through my hair. That was my favorite, too.
It’s hard not to love you, papa. I know when I was young I had brothers and sisters. I remember them vaguely, but I remember. You took me home with you, so I haven’t seen them in a while, but that’s okay. Maybe I was scared at first, being removed from my family. Scared of you. I can only hope my siblings were also blessed with such wonderful papa’s. Thank you for making me safe and not scared anymore. Thank you for sharing your home with a clumsy little girl like me. Thank you so much, papa.
Papa, I’m still not sure why I’m not allowed to be a mama someday. I went to sleep around some strange people and when I woke up, well, it just hurt. Something was wrong inside of me too, I just hadn’t figured out what at the time. I’m not questioning you, papa. I know you only want what’s best for me, but I still get sad sometimes. Is that okay? Am I allowed to be sad when I have such a great papa? I just…I don’t know. I wish I could be a great mama, too. I wish I could show little puppies all of the love that you showed me. I wish so bad to be as great as my papa.
It just didn’t seem fair back then. Papa, you’re a good guy. I’m sorry you get hurt sometimes. Sorry the job people didn’t want you anymore. Sorry that woman didn’t love you. The tears you cried into my head were warm. They made me want to cry, too. When you kept saying “Why am I not good enough?”, I knew you weren’t talking to me, but papa, I wanted to answer so bad. I wanted to tell you exactly how good you were. That you were friendly, and funny, and made the sun sparkle, and worth the trust of all things in all the whole wide world. You deserved the best friends, the best family. I wanted my papa to be happy so bad it hurt. I’m sorry I couldn’t help, papa. You were the best papa a little girl could ask for, and it made me sad that I didn’t know how to tell you. I’m not very good with words, papa.
But even though you got hurt sometimes, you never gave up. Papa, that’s what’s great about you. That’s why I’m proud to call you my papa. You got a new job, a better job, and you stopped asking if you were good enough anymore. It helped you be happy again. Then you bought me my stuffed bunny toy, Squeakman. I love Squeakman. Even now, he’s still my best friend, even if he doesn’t squeak much anymore.
But even better than Squeakman was your face when you met mama. I remember when you came back from your first date. Oh papa, how you smiled! You picked me up and spun me around and laughed with a full heart. The spinning made me dizzy, but I’d be dizzy for a million years if it meant my papa could be happy. Mama was a good lady, I knew. We shared that same feminine instinct and class, so there was no doubt in my mind.
So papa, I know you’re no dummy. That’s why I knew you’d propose to mama. I’m sure the wedding was beautiful too, but I couldn’t go. Nah, papa’s little girl was starting to feel tired lately. That’s okay. Squeakman and I celebrated from afar and eagerly awaited your return. I was only sad once, the whole time you were gone, when I thought about being a mama myself. But it passed and I remembered how happy my papa was.
Our new home was bigger than the old one and full of new smells, so me and Squeakman made a day of exploring it when you both went to work. We found a secret lair beneath the deck, I chased two squirrels out of the yard, and we introduced ourselves to our neighbor Sammi. She’s a bit of an airhead, but I like her.
Papa, you have no idea how my heart fell through the floor when mama got that call you were in the hospital. They said it was an accident and you’d need surgery. Papa, it just wasn’t fair. I wanted to go and be by your side so bad, I would have turned over the world to find a way, but mama said I couldn’t come. I didn’t want to disobey mama, and knew she had her reasons, so I stayed, though my soul was in tatters. I paced, and cried, and prayed to Big Papa that you’d be okay.
I’m really thankful to mama. She was there when I couldn’t be. I knew she was good, but to think she was also the best. She was the best mama a little girl could ask for, because she knew how to take care of you, papa. I know she was the best, because once you got better and she was out with her friends for the night, you cried with me. You cried and thanked Big Papa for sending mama to help you through life when it got hard. I didn’t know you could do that. I didn’t know a person could cry and smile at the same time, but you did it papa.
I saw you do it again a while later, when Little One was born. I saw you cry, but not because you were sad. No, you might have been even happier than ever. I was happy too, and not just because of how Little One made you smile. Little One helped kindle an old fire in my heart. If I couldn’t be a mama myself, then I would help my mama protect her Little One. I would do it with all of my heart.
Watching Little One grow was one of the best things in my life. You were a great papa to us both and I loved showing Little One that you didn’t need to be afraid of people like me and Sammi. People with four legs. Thank you for allowing me to be there when Little One began to walk. Thank you for letting me be a protector when you were gone. I promised that until the day I die, I would never let any harm come to Little One. On my honor as a mama.
But as Little One got bigger, I started to feel something strange. Papa, it happened every time you came home from work or kissed mama. It happened every time you woke up in the morning and began to move around. There was something wrong with all of it. But the problem wasn’t with you, papa, it was with me. I was broken. I was changing and you weren’t. The stairs I climbed to reach your bedroom, they seemed further apart, but you didn’t think so. My legs which helped me run to your side everyday were made of heaviness. Why didn’t your legs seem heavier, papa? Why could you still run when I could not?
Eventually it became too much for this little girl. I tried so hard to keep up with you, papa, but you were moving too fast. Everything hurt and I was always tired. But why? All I wanted was to stay by my papa’s side. Why couldn’t I do that anymore? What was wrong with me? It just wasn’t fair.
One day I woke up when Little One accidentally fell on me. My body hurt something incredible. I knew it wasn’t Little One’s fault, because I’d felt the pain growing deep inside of me for a while, but suddenly I couldn’t move. I could barely even breathe, papa. Do you know how scary that is, not being able to breathe? Thank you for taking care of me though, and please let Little One know it wasn’t their fault. I was a broken little girl. I take full responsibility.
Still, it just wasn’t fair. You took me in to see that doctor person. I didn’t like that doctor person because he smelled like the people who stopped me from being a mama, but I trusted you knew what was best. He placed cold things all over my body and shined a bunch of painful lights into my eyes. He asked you to sit down in the chair so you could talk, but I knew what he was going to say. I was starting to get the feeling that I wouldn’t get to leave with my papa today. The words he used were big and confusing, but I understood the fear in your face. He said I was broken, didn’t he? I was too “old.”
What is old, papa? Are you old? Please don’t become old, it’s really not very fun. I hope Little One never becomes old.
You left me with the doctor person for the night. Papa, that was the loneliest night of my life. I was so scared and I only had Big Papa to comfort me. I could do nothing but lay down and wait and hope you’d come back when the sun rose again.
Thank you for coming back. Thank you for bringing mama and Little One to see me. This is going to be the last time, isn’t it? I can tell because nobody is smiling. I mean, you’re trying to smile, but you can’t trick me, papa. I could smell your sadness when you stepped through the door. I can feel your heart breaking, just like mine.
Papa, did I ever tell you how much I love mama’s voice? It’s so tender, like she’s apologizing to Big Papa for every bad thing everyone has ever done. It’s so sweet, like a magical rain made of candy. You are so special to have her, papa. She’s a better mama than I could ever be. Please take care of her forever and always. I know you will, because that’s the kind of papa you are.
Little One doesn’t know what’s happening, do they? That’s okay. I protected them, just like I promised I would. Please keep Little One safe when I’m gone. Please show them what love is.
And Papa, it really, really isn’t fair, you know? Why do you not look any different? I spent my whole life with you. You were there from the beginning. Had you had little girls like me before? Will you find another once I’ve left? If you do, please be the papa I know you are, and show them how to be happy like me. Fill them with wonder and hope and joy. Little girls need those things from their papas.
Because I’m old now, papa, and very tired. Thank you for placing Squeakman beside me, so I don’t have to go alone to find Big Papa. Thank you for being here, even though I know it hurts your heart. You’ve always been here, haven’t you? I’ve seen you every day since I could remember, and you still look exactly the same as when we first met. That’s not fair. I want to spend more time with my papa, but I can’t keep my eyes open anymore. Why are my eyes the only ones that have to close? Why do I have to go into the dark without my papa?
It just doesn’t seem fair, you know?