My daughter is the most pleasant Valentine’s Day surprise I could have ever received. Her original due date was March 7 and what was just thirty-seven week checkup turned into “Your child’s birth weight is in the lower tenth percentile so we’re going to induce labor.” The process was supposed could have lasted three days, but Cydney Moriah Milner made it her business to come to her mother and me that day. She literally came out the womb in dramatic fashion – as she is known to do everything these days – taking her first breath at 11:25 PM in 2011.

Cydney’s birth wound up being bittersweet. Nine days later her mother was diagnosed with stage IV esophageal cancer and passed away when our daughter was nine months old. Cydney’s birth wound up being bittersweet. Nine days later her mother was diagnosed with stage IV esophageal cancer and passed away when our daughter was nine months old.

Today Cydney’s turning four and has big plans. She thinks that four is when you become a woman (she says she’s going to grow hair and at the mall the other day picked up a bra and said she’ll need one when she turns four). For me, Valentine’s Day is extra special because I have my little girl to celebrate.

It’s not an easy day. During the day we do all of the things that she’d like to do, we eat poorly and often, we go to the toy store and let her pick out whatever she wants, eat poorly again, sing happy birthday, and the night ends with her passing out with her newly acquired toys all over the bed. By the time she is asleep I begin to reflect on the last few years and I think about her mother.

I loved Cydney’s mother literally to death. Once she was gone, the strong feelings did not linger. Slowly losing her and witnessing her pain was wrenching. But I was ready to move on pretty soon after. I thought that I was the love of her life, but in reality I was hers. I can’t think of many times in which I have actually missed her. We loved one another very much, but on reflection, we did not have all that much in common. While our time together was amazing I am aware and believe that I can share something much greater with someone else one day. Things may not have turned out the way that I wanted them to, but I am a true believer that my story was written a very long time ago so it’ll be just fine.

Being a single parent is tough. You don’t really have the time to do all of the things that you would like to do including dating. I have dated within the last few years and even fell in love once. There have been people in my life on Valentine’s Day, but they would have to be pretty special to my daughter and me if they were to spend this day with us.

My circumstances are a little on the extreme end. However, death, divorce and breakup are all losses. Regardless of the specifics, we go through the stages of grief and continue to move on with our lives. While it may not be their child’s birthday, I know many single parents who spend the “Day of Love” showing their little one(s) that they adore them. At the end of the day, that’s what it is all about. Who doesn’t want to spend such a day being in love with a romantic companion? Someone who says otherwise is a liar (I said it…). The way I look at it is that as of right now there is a little girl who just turned four. She thinks the world of me, I am her superhero, and her first love. That alone inspires me to make today the day I show her how much I love her.


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Chad Milner founded the blog, and is a contributing writer for Singlewith and Mommy Noire. He's also a project-management and website consultant, with a psychology/business management degree from Morehouse College. Chad lives in New York City with his daughter Cydney.

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