I usually don’t write anything about Fathers Day. I could’ve made up a gift guide to get some blog traffic, but what would I know about that? How would I know what dads want? My parents divorced when I was very young and I barely ever remember them being together as a family. I wanted to acknowledge the holiday somehow, so here is a letter to my father. This is very personal and is difficult to share, but I hope it helps someone or maybe even myself.
I’m not sure how to start this letter. Should I write, dear dad? No. That doesn’t sound right because I haven’t seen you in over 20years now. I’m sure I’ll never see you again and I accept that. It is probably for the best. Maybe I should address this letter, “to my father”, but you don’t deserve that title. I guess I’ll just jump right in then. I’m writing this letter because Father’s Day is very close and I always start thinking of you around this time because I see Fathers Day stuff everywhere. I work with kids and of course, we always make Fathers Day cards and projects with the kids. That doesn’t bother me though. I’m happy for the kids when they have a good dad in their life. Sometimes I wonder what you are doing now and if you’ve changed your life at all. I wonder if you ever think of me or if you regret walking away. Mostly I think about what you’ve missed out on and definitely what you are missing out on now.
I know if anyone realizes who I am and who you are, you’d be embarrassed and would hate to find this post. You wouldn’t want anyone to know that any of this is your fault. I know that my disability bothered you and I’m sure you were embarrassed about that as well. You didn’t want to deal with my problems and I’m sure it was difficult for you, but you do those things as a parent. You accept your child, meet them where they are and solve problems together. At least that’s what a good dad does. Regardless of my short comings, I’m successful in a lot of ways. I contribute to the world. I care for children. I reach out to others. I write. I create art. I try to be a good daughter, a good friend, but most of all, I try to be a good mother.
I have a child of my own now. That’s what I meant when I said I think about what you are missing out on now. You are missing being a grandfather to an amazing little girl. She’s bright, energetic, funny and sweet. Maybe you have had that opportunity with my sister. You always called her my sister, but I know she’s not biologically related to either one of us. That never mattered though. It doesn’t matter whose DNA she has. Obviously, the emotional bonds mattered much more as I always saw her as my sister. That is until we didn’t see each other anymore. That is the one thing I truly miss. I always wanted a sister. I have my brothers and they are close, but I feel like the odd one out. Sisters have a different bond. I always wondered why you liked her more than me, but deep down I already knew. It was painfully obvious. She wasn’t defective.
I suppose it was because she was successful and you figured I’d never amount to anything. I’m still not as successful as I’d like to be, but I am more than what you or your family envision. I ran in to a family member of yours one day at Walmart. I couldn’t tell you who it was, but I was in my late 20’s and I had just graduated from college. They just assumed I had graduated from high school and actually asked if I went to a special school. It goes to show how little they know and what your family thinks of me. Unfortunately, you had the same attitude. I used to think it was me and I admit, sometimes I still do. I wonder why or how anyone else will accept me when you couldn’t. I know that it’s possible because mom accepts and deals with it in her own way. She believes I’m capable even though she’s over protective at times. At least she taught me things and is proud of what I’ve done. She’s not perfect. No one is, but at least she’s always been there and I know she loves me. She had to work full-time plus do the job of two parents. They say the negative almost outweighs the positive. You can hear ten positive things about yourself, but you’ll remember that one negative thing. Our relationship or lack of one has left a hole in my life. One that will never be filled and I’ve come to terms with that a long time ago.
I talked to this psychic once. She claimed that she could connect with spirits. She said she connected with your father and she felt a lot of aggression. I don’t know much about any of your family or what it was like for you growing up, but based on your life as an adult, I think I can assume that your childhood was no picnic. I know that your dad died when you were very young. I’m sorry about that. I’m not sure if it was him who she connected with, but the psychic told me that your leaving was your gift to me. A gift on a soul level. It sounds crazy, but maybe that’s the best you could do. Sometimes it’s better to just walk away. I’ve learned that the hard way. In my head, I understand this, but in my heart, I never will.
Fathers Day is approaching and I was just going to skip over it. Pretend like it doesn’t exist. That wouldn’t be hard to do because that’s what I’ve always done except when my grandfather was alive. He was my male role model. A good dad. Everything I wished you could’ve been. He taught me the value of hard work and what it means to be honest. I remember playing in his shop, helping him in the garden, playing card games and his stories about what it was like for him growing up. That’s what Fathers Day is really about. Celebrating men like him.
This morning, I planned on writing a happy post about what you need for a baby’s first trip to the beach, but then I was inspired. I was inspired by this wonderful sweet letter that another woman wrote to her dad. Only it was all positive. Brimming with love and admiration. Of course it would be, Fathers Day is for celebrating dads, but what if your dad isn’t in your life? What if you never knew your dad? What if your dad is a horrible human being? I’m not saying that about you. There must have been something good underneath, but there are so many people who can’t celebrate their dads for whatever reason. This post is for them, so they know they aren’t alone. This letter is for those of us who don’t have our dads. This letter is for those of us who feel left out when we see supportive and involved dads. If you don’t have your dad, I can relate. If you are a good father who supports and cares for his children, thank you. I hope you realize how important you are in your child’s life. Happy Fathers Day.
I’m so sorry for your experience with your dad. I cannot imagine how that made you feel. But, know you are pretty fantastic. He experienced a huge loss by not being part of your life.