A Seattle Dad Gave His Daughter A Graduation Gift 13 Years In The Making

"I love being her dad in every phase of her life."

Every year after the first day of school, Kevin Scruggs set aside some special time to sit down with his daughter Mackenzie.

In the video interview, he asked her how her first day went and what she was most looking forward to that year. From playing with another girl named Mackenzie to looking for cute boys, she shared the small —  but nonetheless meaningful — moments with her father. 

"Life is about moments," Scruggs, a pastor and life coach in the Seattle area, told A Plus. "We get these moments with our kids, and... then they grow up." While he was only able to capture some of those moments on video, he is "grateful for every moment" he's had with both Mackenzie and his younger daughter. 



"Enjoy the moments," he advised other parents. "Live in those moments because they grow up quick."

Wanting to "capture the moment, capture the first day of school" before it flew by, Scruggs came up with the video idea when Mackenzie began kindergarten. Though the final video begins with her first grade interview, the Scruggs family does still possess that original kindergarten interview but just couldn't copy it over into digital form. Despite the missing footage, there was more than enough left to evoke some tears from the crowd at Mackenzie's graduation party on June 10, where the video first debuted. "She [Mackenzie] gasped when she sees those awkward stages that everybody goes through," he said. "But she was happy."

That same day, Scruggs uploaded the video to YouTube, where it has since received more than 1,300,000 views.

"It's been surreal," he said. "I hope it's been an encouragement to other parents. I just happened to capture my thing on video but there's lot of parents out there that are engaging with their kids in a variety of really fun ways." Both he and Mackenzie can barely believe over a million people have watched her grow up. Some have even reached out to Scruggs, commending his video idea and saying they're going to start a similar tradition with their kids. "Keep staying engaged with your kids," he encouraged. "It's worth it. It's absolutely worth it." 

Courtesy Kevin Scruggs
Courtesy Kevin Scruggs

For Scruggs, it was such a worthy experience he didn't do it just once, but twice. His younger daughter will receive her own video when she graduates from high school in two years. He and his wife feel fortunate that, one day, they'll get to "watch and relive" these special moments long after their children graduate high school, move to college, and go "off to greater things in life."

For now, though, Mackenzie plans to begin college in Arizona in the fall. 

"I think that's why when I recorded her senior year, there was a bit of a lump in my throat because I knew that was it," Scruggs said. "I knew this was the last one."

Courtesy Kevin Scruggs
Courtesy Kevin Scruggs

That's why it was so important for Scruggs to end each year's video by telling Mackenzie "I love you." At the end of their viral video, Scruggs' video editor friend TJ McConahay helped him edit together all those moments of he and his daughter saying "I love you" to play one after another. With twelve in total, that's a whole lot of love. 

"It's been a fun journey. She's an amazing young woman, and I'm one proud father," Scruggs said. "I love being her dad in every phase of her life."