An Open Letter To The Dad Who Wasn’t There

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To the dad who wasn’t there,

You missed out. You missed out on meeting my first boyfriend, then my second, and third and so on. You missed out on telling me that they all weren’t good enough for me and to be careful. You missed out on being right. You missed out on seeing me get my first job, and my first car. You missed out on seeing me graduate high school, and you missed out on talking me into college. You missed out on giving your blessing to my now husband, and you missed out on our wedding. You missed out on walking me down the aisle, and what haunts me today, is that you missed out on our father daughter dance. You missed out. Not only did you miss out on that, but you missed out on the birth of my daughter. You missed out on being a dad, and now you missed out on being a grandpa.

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But, I forgive you. I forgive you for shutting me in my room all day while you were blacked out on the floor. I forgive you for drinking too much, and selling my toys to pay for more beer. I forgive you for only coming to my games and concerts if you “had” to. I forgive you for being so mean to me. I forgive you for waking me up screaming and slamming pans together, and I forgive for calling me fat. And ugly. And smelly. Constantly. I forgive you for calling me every other name under the sun that I still work everyday to eliminate from my inner voice. I forgive you. I forgive you for yelling at me for what felt like hours because I spilt a drink on the floor and made a mess. I forgive you for throwing things at me from across the room because I made a bigger mess trying to clean it up. I forgive you for making me feel like I couldn’t do anything right and that I was stupid. I forgive you for watching adolescent me bathe even when I expressed I was uncomfortable with it. I forgive you for touching me. I forgive you for all the heartache you’ve caused me, and all the emptiness you’ve made me feel. I forgive you for all the tears I’ve had to cry and all the secrets I’ve had to hide. I forgive you. I forgive you for abandoning me. I forgive you for all the voices in my head that tell me I’m never going to be good enough. I forgive you for leaving a big ole dad shaped hole in my heart. I forgive you for making me feel like I deserved any of it. And I forgive you for not being the dad I deserved.

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I deserved a dad who loved me. I deserved a dad who cared about me. I deserved a dad who remembered my birthday and took me to father daughter dances. I deserved a dad who called me beautiful, so much so that my response would be an eye roll and a sarcastic, “Thanks Dad”. I deserved a dad I could introduce my boyfriends to, and I deserved a dad who told me that boy wasn’t good enough for me. I deserved a dad who got teary eyed when I was going to prom, and one who stayed up every night to make sure I made it home safe. I deserved a dad that made me feel safe. I deserved a dad who helped me move out and one who checked up to make sure I changed the door locks and was getting settled in nicely. I deserved a dad who would give his blessings to my now husband, and one who walked me down the aisle toward the love of my life. I deserved that. I deserved so much more than that.

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You’ll never know what it felt like to meet one of my boyfriends. You’ll never know what it’s like to help me buy my first car or house. You’ll never know the pride of driving me to my first day of my first job. You’ll never know. You’ll never know what it feels like to walk me down the aisle. You’ll never know what it feels like to hold me while we have our father daughter dance, or how it feels to cry when we leave our wedding reception. You’ll never know the pain you felt for me as we walk through infertility, and you’ll never know the joys of holding my little daughter hours after being born, realizing that you are finally a grandpa. You’ll never know how you affected me, because you left.

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You left. You left me. You left me with a stepdad who didn’t like me. You left me with, what my therapist calls, abandonment issues. You left me with a void I have tried to fill over and over again. You left me with memories and you left me with pain. You left me with crippling anxiety, and you left me with my mom. You left me with a fear of men that I still struggle with today. At the same time you left me with a need for men’s attention. You left me with feelings attracting me towards older men, feelings that almost got me raped when I was sixteen by a guy almost double my age. You left me. You left me empty. You left me broken. You left me hurt. You left me alone. And you didn’t care.

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I have spent more of my life without you then with you at this point and I’ve finally been able to come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t my fault. I am enough. I am loved. I am beautiful, and I’m going to be okay. I am okay. I finally found something to fill the void that you left, and it wasn’t drugs, alcohol, or sex. It also wasn’t graduating early so I couldn’t move out. It wasn’t getting married at a young age, and it most definitely wasn’t the birth of my daughter. It was finding Jesus. Jesus led me to my church when I was a young teen. A teen who was broken, confused, and afraid. A teen who already learned that only you were going to look after you. A teen who needed out, but a teen who also didn’t know how to processes everything going on around her. I don’t want to know where I would be if God hadn’t intervened in my life and I never will. The Lord has surrounded me with grace, love, and mercy. The Lord taught me how to trust again. The Lord led me to an amazing man of God. The Lord has seen me through so many things in my life and you are just a drop of water in the ocean that is my life. I am healed. I am loved. And I am enough. Not because of you or anything you did, but because of Him.

Sincerely,

The best thing you ever walked away from.

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To my readers,

This week I wanted to do a piece about how important dads are in a child’s life, in honor of Father’s Day. I thought no better way to showcase that then to write about my own personal experiences with my biological father. I never had a father figure growing up, but I truly believe that fathers play one of, if not thee, most important role in a child’s life. So to all the amazing fathers out there I say thank you and happy belated Father’s Day. You are loved and your work matters.


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