There's something in my eye.
(FYI: I'm going to call you Fusilodil—Future Son-in-Law or Daughter-in-Law—because no one knows your real name yet.)
How's it going? I hope things are good with you! I expect that you're likely getting a little excited about fact that you'll be marrying my sugar, my daughter, my one and only Violet. It IS exciting, ain't it?
It sure is, Fusilodil.
It sure is.
Hey! Maybe we'll share a pizza and a bottle of the good stuff as we all get to know each other, huh? That'd be a special evening, no doubt. A reeeeeal special evening. But for real. When we do break bread together on that first joyous occassion, understand that I'll probably be boring a fairly sizable hole in your forehead with my laserbeam eyes. Please don't take it too personally, okay? That's just something I tend to do when I'm meeting someone like you for the first time, Fusilodil—someone who is more or less planning on stealing the love of my life away from me.
But I digress. Look, you seem like a real decent person, and Lord knows that my little girl sees so much in you. Her eyes light up when you walk in the room. Have you noticed that? I'm sure you have. That's love, Fusilodil. I know it when I see it. It's not easy for me either, I'm not gonna lie to you. This kid. This young woman. This angel named Violet has saved me more than I like to admit. Just by being around and being herself in front of me, she's a reflection in my eye.
I'll tell ya, I never dreamed I'd be lucky enough to know someone like my daughter in my time on Earth. (Let alone help create her!) But I do know her, and she has loved me and been my best friend since the day she was born and placed into my quivering hands on a foggy January afternoon many moons ago.
Oh, I'm rambling, aren't I? Anyway, you and I have something very, very important in common, Fusilodil, so I'm going to tell you a few things you ought to know before you two lovebirds go galloping off into that western sunset.
Okay, here we go.
Alright, I'm fine. I'm fine. I just maybe need a second here. I'm good. Okay. Gathering my thoughts. Something's in my eye; a gnat, I think. Sniff.
Okay, it's gone.
Violet Avelaine Bielanko is my first born child. That makes her special in my book. I don't love her younger brothers any less for the fact, mind you, it's just that your first kid holds a special place in your heart when you become a daddy. That said, I'm willing to concede to reality since I've agreed to walk her down the aisle and give her away to you. (Boy, do I hate that term, 'give her away'. Truth is, I'm not giving her away at all. I like you fine, and you two belong together but for me to simply hand her off would make me a special kind of stupid. And that ain't going to happen.)
Violet has come through a lot of hard times and sad times and good times and bad times with me by right her side. I was there when she cut her eye on the corner of the kitchen table. Those were my arms she landed in to cry her tears! And we sure had a hell of a lot of fun hitting all the summertime fairs and carnivals when she was a little girl. Oh, how she used to love to ride one of those crusty old potato sacks down the Super Slide over and over again! It made me beam to watch her smile taking over her whole pretty face. Then, of course, after all the rides, she had to have her lemonade.
She'd look up at me with her sleepy brown eyes, a cotton candy smear at the corner of her mouth, and say, 'Daddy, can I have a lemonade?"
And so lemonade it was, Fusilodil. Every d*mn time.
Pancakes in the morning? I'm the guy who made 'em. And I'd sing my goofy songs to her and her brothers while they sipped their juices from their sippy cups and tried hard to concentrate on the cartoons before school as their over-caffeinated daddy made too much 7 am racket. In the Winter, we'd dream of Spring, but we still found things to do. We'd go on short nature hikes after I picked her up from school, and we'd walk down frozen trails until Violet's little fingers got too cold or her brother's noses started snotting up so bad that I thought the two of them might just drown in their own au jus.
Fall in the leaves. Oh how Violet loved to jump in the leaves. Big piles of them, I'd rake. And her grin was always like someone took a real big machete and slit the belly of the sky wide open so that Heaven's sunshiney guts came spilling out all over the land.
I know I get carried away when I talk about Violet, but truth is, I'm going to miss those feelings—the feelings you get when you're the main man in a little girl's world.
You'll be seeing a lot more of her than I will, and I'll be honest, I'm not too overjoyed with that. It isn't you, it's me. Perhaps we should talk about me moving in with you lovebirds? I know, I know. You're just starting your life together, and I'm in fine health and blahdy-blah-blah. I'm just laying it out there on the table as an option. Mull it over.
Anyhoot, Halloween and Christmas were always two of Violet's favorite times of year. I remember the year she wanted to be a bily goat for Halloween! Oh brother, did I have trouble finding her a billy goat costume. But I put my nose to the Google, and I found one in the end. The thrill of finding that eccentric costume that she wanted so badly made me a very happy man, Fusilodil.
You also know all about how Violet's mama and me threw in the towel on our marriage when our daughter was just 5 years old. Those were darker days, but Violet sure was strong. In fact, she was one of the pillars that helped me stand when all I wanted to do was crumble. We used to sit in the couch and watch TV together with her brothers—just me and my kids—and we'd make some microwave popcorn and laugh at Spongebob. Those were special days. Special, special times. You'll never understand that, or maybe you will; it's tough to call it from where I'm at right now.
Divorce is hard on hearts, but we got through it with love. (And me and the kids ended up better for it anyways.) It was a cool, crisp November afternoon in 2014 when I was fly fishing down on Penns Creek and happened to come up on a woman fishing all by herself. We started talking and before you knew it, I realized I was talking to the most beautiful film actress in the world. Jennifer Lawrence. And I fell in love almost immediately, and even though I never expected such a wild twist of the tale, before long we were married and she moved in to my little duplex with me and the kids (when they weren't at their mom's). And the rest, the say, is history.
Violet loves Jennifer. They have a special bond. All my kids love her to pieces. And Violet was so close with her Grammy and her Pop-Pop, too, and her Uncle Dave and her Aunt Christine. She's had a lot of love in her life so far. And she's given a lot of love, too. Oh, and wait until you see Violet with her mama. You've never seen love like that; those two together are a special kind of special.
Anyhow, it's getting late here, Fusilodil, and I need to get this pesky bug out of my eye. I just wanted to write you this little note to let you know that we love you already, and even though there's no way on God's green Earth that you could ever be prepared for the kind of semi-lunatic aura of chaos that surrounds this particular family you're about to become part of. I hope you'll enjoy each of us for our own particular peculiarities.
Most of all, though, Fusilodil, I need you to love my sweetheart with every ounce of love that you've got in your pumping veins, kiddo. Okay?
Welcome to the family, you.
I am the danger.