Dear Elliana,

I just wanted to say 'Happy Birthday' to my little princess. I know, everything is princess for you right now. Pink room, pink shoes, and little pink dresses.

I love the way you twirl to show off your new Sofia the First dress and you're little pigtails. I'm trying to get better at fixing your hair the way you like it, but mom will always be better at it.

It's your birthday, and I just wanted you to know that you'll always be my little princess. The time will go fast for us and it is my prayer that you'll be as happy as I am when you get older.

There will be times when you stumble and fail. It happens to everybody. But remember, I'll always be there, ready to help you up and find your way again should you need a guiding hand.

I pray that you will someday find someone that makes you truly happy and that you never stop laughing...just like you did this morning during hide-and-seek.

I hope you will always be proud of your accomplishments... just like the watercolor painting of the bird you made yesterday that is on our refrigerator door. Of course, it's the most beautiful bird I've ever seen.

I pray that you will always walk hand-in-hand with someone... just like when we walked the bike trails last week.

I want you to always count your blessings and never forget to realize how blessed you really are... just like last night when we watched you blow out your birthday candles.

Please remember that it's not important to be super-popular. It's not necessary to be liked by everyone. Please know that you're enough.

When hardships come your way, and they will, lean on God like your life depends on it. It really does.

I hope you never forget to dance and remember that you can cross troubled water because you are resilient and smart.

I hope you remember that every night when I tuck you into your bed and say "I love you", it's because i really mean it...and always will.

I hope you always remember that real beauty is not in make-up, the latest fashions, and accessories. It's within you.

I hope you always remember that you are worth waiting for and to never give into pressure, even if everyone else is doing it.

You are one of the most amazing gifts to me.

I will always be your incredibly proud and ever grateful father.

Ellie, I love you. Now let's cut that birthday cake with 3 candles on it.

Dan Collins 2013
Heather 2012