An Open Letter To Dad On Father's Day

An Open Letter To Dad On Father's Day

Thank you for loving me and always being here for me.
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Dear Dad,

It's Father's Day, and I want to tell you that I appreciate you. I appreciate you every day, and I really could write about how much I appreciate you every day, but then you'd get tired of hearing it and tell me to clean the bathroom or something. :)

First of all, thank you for always being here for me. Thank you for all of the nights that you tucked me in and read me a story (or the same story over and over), thank you for all of the times we went to brunch instead of church, thank you for all of the times we turned up the radio and sang loudly on our road trips and thank you for all of the times you took me to the pool, even when you really wanted to nap and watch the baseball game. As I got older, you listened to me cry (and gush) over boys, you listened to me obsess over literally everything, and you listened to the music suggestions I sent you (well, some of them). You taught me how to play sports, how to drive and how to stand up tall and be proud of who I am.

We've all made mistakes, but thank you for teaching me that it is better to admit that I am wrong and fix the issue than to protect my pride. Thank you for teaching me that honesty really is the best policy, even if I have twelve hours of timeout (and math worksheets) to suffer through for telling it. Thank you for showing me that change is almost always for the best, and that even the curveballs that life throws you can be used to make you a better person.

Thank you for keeping a roof over my head and food on the table, even if I sat there for hours before I finally ate it. Thank you for teaching me to appreciate what I have, even if I've thrown fits that I couldn't have more. Thank you for showing me that the people I have in my life and the support that they give me is worth more than any monetary possession that I could ever buy, and thank you for teaching me that listening is worth more than talking.

I know that I haven't been easy to raise, and I remember many of the nights throughout my life that I screamed myself hoarse, kicked the floor until it shook and hurled insults through my slammed door at you. Even now, I sometimes say things that I really don't mean in emotional moments. But I promise I really am thankful for you and for everything you've done for me - I'm so proud to be a daddy's girl. :)

So thank you for everything - thank you for helping to create me, for raising me and for letting me wear pajamas in public sometimes. Thank you for pushing me out of my comfort zone to try new things, even if I momentarily hated you for doing it. Thank you for never letting me question if I was loved and for teaching me from the day that I was born that I am a princess. And most importantly, thank you for teaching me the rules of football.

With more love than I can say,

Your daughter.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Garrett

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

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Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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A Toxic Mother Can Cause Just As Much Damage As An Absent Father

They're real, they're out there.

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What's worse, a toxic mother or an absent father?

I saw this on Twitter and I had to give my input.

An absent father is kind of like a blank space that either you can fill or you have filled. Some mothers choose to make the absentee father the hero, the villain, or anonymous. Fathers play a huge role in their daughters' lives by being their first love and in their sons by being their first role models of how a man treats a woman. Absent fathers tend to be full of blame and excuses towards everyone besides themselves. By creating the narrative that it wasn't by choice but a decision.

Fathers are the anchor in the household providing stability, safety, and security. When it's missing, there is a need to find it. Leading boys to feel like they need to become men before their time and pushing girls to beg for love that was always intended to be free.

Absent fathers have been an epidemic in minority communities for decades. Starting off by force and continuing by choice. But that void can be a bottomless pit to be filled with whatever can close the gap. Though it should be fixed with self-love and personal identity, it tends to be the opposite.

Absent fathers create a hole that society could never fill.

Now, toxic mothers.

They're real, they're out there. I know it's a shock but not every mother is from "The Brady Bunch" or "The Cosby Show." There are mothers who are present in their children's lives and still abdicate the role of being the nurturer, lover, and protector. Though they don't catch nearly as much flack as absent fathers, their effects can be just as detrimental. Being the sole parent in the household, children are completely dependent upon them for shelter, nutrition, self-care, and everything else. They are taking the roles of two in one. So we aren't talking about the single moms who are killing it and making a way but falling short.

No, no.

We're talking about moms who use the children's dependency upon them and abuse the power that their title, mother, entails. Mothers are their sons' first love, and how they treat their sons affects their views on women. Mothers who degrade their daughters with slurs, try to emasculate their sons, they forfeit their roles by being the root of hate instead of love.

Toxic mothers distort an image of love and replace it with fear.

In reality, no one has a perfect family life or an ideal home situation. But through our experiences, we can be better for our children and the generation to come. We don't have to be a slave to our past, but instead, we can master our future.

But this started off with a question: what's worse, a toxic mother or an absent father?

The worst thing would be to have both.

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