Kevin Scruggs, a Seattle pastor and dad to two teenage girls, describes himself as "a sentimental guy."
"I love being a dad," Scruggs says. "I have enjoyed every single moment of being a parent."
To preserve those special moments, every year on the first day of school, Scruggs recorded short interviews with his daughters. It was a silly little tradition, but it's one he's thankful he stuck with, especially as his daughters are now older and getting ready to leave home.
The Scruggs family. Photo via Kevin Scruggs, used with permission.
For his daughter Mackenzie's high-school graduation, Scruggs compiled 12 years of these interview highlights into an emotional video montage.
It begins on Mackenzie's first day of first grade.
"How old are you?" he asks her.
"Ummm," she replies, thinking as she wiggles around on the couch. "Six!"
From there, the passage of time happens slowly, imperceptibly, and then all at once. Suddenly Mackenzie is a nearly grown woman, sitting on a different couch, telling her dad what she's looking forward to in her last year of school.
Scruggs played the video in the background at Mackenzie's graduation party and later figured out how to create a YouTube account so he could save it somewhere and share it with family.
He had no idea it would go viral.
"Over a million people have watched my daughter grow up on the internet. It's surreal," he says.
The video is every parent's greatest joy and worst fear rolled into one: It's the happiness their kids bring to their lives but also a reminder that they won't stay little forever.
Since the video went viral, parents have been reaching out to Scruggs to let them know how much it means to them.
"A lot of parents are doing their thing, living every day, interacting, being in their kids' lives. I hope [the video is] an encouragement to them to keep going," Scruggs says. "It's worth it. Every single day is a gift with them."
GIF via Kevin Scruggs/YouTube.
"If I talk about it too much, I'm going to get choked up," he says.
Scruggs' role as a full-time dad isn't over yet.
His younger daughter won't graduate for a few years, but when that day comes, he has the video footage ready to assemble for montage of her own.
She, like Mackenzie, might cringe at footage of "the awkward years," as Scruggs calls them. But knowing she's got a dad who loves her and isn't afraid to be sappy and sentimental and emotional — things men are told they shouldn't be and that too many dads are afraid to be — should make it worth it.
It's a lesson and an example that more dads could follow. Hopefully Scruggs' video encourages them to do so.