Its funny how sometimes the people in our lives that do things to break us, end up making us stronger, shaping us into the people we are and those we are destined to become. I was less than a year old when he left me. He went on to be with another pregnant woman who wasn’t my mom, that woman had a baby and he was you. Here we are, I’m 20 years old now, and you, that baby boy, are 19. You’ve had a great life, I know. You go to football games, concerts and on vacations. You have a dad who plays football and video games with you, who teaches you how to shoot a gun and how to drive a car. You have a dad who you can come home to at night and ask for help with in math, and one who teaches you how to be a man. You’ve had two parents cheering for you in the crowd, and if they had father son dances, you would have never missed one. You have a great dad, the only problem is... he is mine. Every father daughter dance, every Christmas and birthday, you had my dad. When I starred in the play as a sheep in the grand production of “Bah Bah Black Sheep”, he wasn’t there, he was with you. When that first boy broke my heart in Kindergarten there was no comfort of my father's arms, there was no fear for his stern words when I did wrong. He took you to every football game and to your favorite singer’s concert. He taught you to shoot a gun and drive a car while he didn’t even get to know the granddaughter I gave him.
I use to hate two people in this world for his absence, myself and you. The blood of my father runs through my veins, yet you are the one he is raising. His eyes stare at people as they look at me and his laugh escapes my mouth when something is just too funny but my knowledge of his personality is equal to that of a stranger. I used to blame you for stealing my dad, for taking away all those missed birthdays and milestones, and then I realized you needed a dad like I do. Like mine, your dad left you and my dad took his place. While it may have taken many years for me to realize this, it is not your fault. You deserve a dad to teach you how to drive and help you with your math and, while it may be hard that it is mine I am glad you have that in your life.
Along with you, I used to hate myself for my dad’s absence. If he could be such a good dad to another kid, it must be me who is the problem. It would be fair to say maybe he was just too young or not ready to be a father had he not been the picture perfect one to you. I blamed myself for years and wondered how in the world a 1 year old could push someone away. Then, I had a child of my own and I realized that no force on God’s green earth could keep me away from her. There is no person I wouldn't fight, no mountain I would not cross if it meant giving my child any inkling of better than she has now and with that I realized where the blame was to lie, on my dad. Every missed birthday, every skipped father daughter dance, every non existent phone call and every gut wrenching feeling of not being good enough for my own parent was not your fault, nor was it mine; it was his, our dad’s.
As a mother, I know that nothing in this world could make me stop loving my child till it hurts and I know that nothing she could do could ever change that, and nothing I could do to my dad could have either. I know that my daughter loves Flamming Hot Cheetos and she gets a wrinkle in her little forehead when she is afraid, he probably doesn't even know that I have his laugh. All the problem lies in him, the responsibility lied in him, the choice was made by him. My dad leaving me to raise you broke me down for most of my childhood, but it only made me better now. It is because he left me that I know not to force anyone to be in my daughter’s life who doesn’t make an effort on their own to be in it. It taught me that my mother is one hell of a woman who can stand up and raise a child on her own and do an amazing job in the process. He taught me that I don’t need my dad to teach me how to mow the yard, take care of my car, or even walk me down the aisle, I have the best grandpa in the world for that (him and I in the picture). By him leaving me he taught me that I am worth it to be someone’s everything, that it is not me who is at a loss for missing all those father daughter dances or waiting for him to call on the birthdays, it is his for not being there and not calling. Most importantly he gave me a shining example of the exact kind of parent I do not want to be. In the process of all of this I realized, that it is not your fault, and it is not mine. The fault belongs to the man who you call dad, the man I longed to call dad for so many years and the man I am now thankful I do not have! All those years I blamed you for being my replacement, for getting to do all those things while I got nothing and although you may not have known I blamed you, just know now that I forgive you, and someday I will find it within me to forgive him too.
I wish you the best,