Never let it be said Cam Newton doesn’t have a soft heart. Over the weekend, the Carolina Panthers quarterback publicly declared his love and admiration for five-year-old Shakira, the daughter of Newton’s girlfriend, Kia Proctor.

Though Newton and Proctor have two small children together, Newton has embraced Shakira as his “first child,” as he shared in an Instagram post celebrating her fifth birthday.

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A post shared by Cam Newton (@cameron1newton) on

In case you have a hard time reading the unique font Newton prefers, here’s a what Newton wrote:

“Happy Birthday to the real girl who changed my life ever since we first met five years ago. You have challenged me in ways you will never know, because in retrospect you were my first child. This message isn’t to brag or to even complain about my situation, but this is just real talk. Being labeled a stepdad is hard on the parent just as much as it is for the child to accept it. It is hard work for both parties and I respect any stepparent that takes full responsibility of a God sent child. I remember the first day you called me daddy and I was scared as hell. But when I thought about it, I was honored for you to think of me as not only a male figure in your life but also as a father figure you could learn from as well. Your mom and I are not married, but no one can tell you that I’m not your father and they damn sure can’t tell me that you’re not my daughter. I love you, or better yet, Daddy loves you Kirry. Happy Birthday Shakira aka Kirry aka B1 Gsissy (as ChoCho calls her).”

Clearly, Shakira holds a special place in Newton’s heart, and it’s just as clear he feels lucky to have her in his life.