Getting Letters From Your Parent When They're Deployed Overseas

I Only Felt Close To My Father When He Was 7,000 Miles Away

The reason I hold onto his letters.


My father is a hard man. He's often uncaring and can, at times, be mean spirited and controlling. He has always been this way, and our relationship suffers most every day because of this. It's a shame, but I try not to complain because, after all, there are so many people who never knew their father, and at least I have that opportunity.

When I was young, my father's military unit was sent overseas to aid in the United States' terror relief efforts. I was sad to see him go, but I knew his work was important. After he left, we didn't hear from him for a while, and there was little news to be gleaned from the military spouse meetings. But, about a month into his time in the country, the letters started.

I had never received a hand-written letter, and it was exciting to visit the post office each week and return with something just for me. The letters he wrote were raw and kind, so unlike his demeanor in person.

It was as if the thousands of miles had baptized the letters removing all malice and ill will away leaving nothing but love and joy remaining.

The man who couldn't be bothered to kiss me goodnight two nights in a row was now writing me stories about camels. The person who was often annoyed by my mother's love of photos sent home rolls of film filled with exotic places and people. The father who never said much more than a short, "I love you" as he flew out the door in the morning filled his letters with an underlined "I love you" and well wishes for his "angels." I memorized his address, I wrote back to him, and I hung on every word of his letters.

Eventually, though, he returned home safe and sound.

And I was glad, me and my mother both were, and still are. But the man I had grown accustomed to for fourteen months stayed behind. That kind-hearted, loving man is somewhere in the Middle East, rotting, and all that remains are his letters. We hardly talk anymore. he's made decisions I can't live with, and I've chosen a life for myself in which he can't control me, and for that, I feel we will never be close.

So now, as I emerge into adulthood, still clinging to my father's letters, I'm often questioned.

People often ask why I still hold on to those crumpled letters when I hardly speak to my father now. What many fail to realize is those letters were the closest thing to a father's love I've ever known. They weren't a hurried "I love you" on the way to work or an awkward, sideways hug at church. They were lines of hand-written ballads and warm embraces that transcended the miles to reach me. They're my last link to the man that began and ended overseas, the one I never met face to face, but will never forget, and the father my father could've been.

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.

Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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There's Nothing Wrong With Wanting To Be Better Than Your Parents

They've brought you into the world so you can create YOUR own life.


I grew up in a very traditional household. I had the typical home-making mother and the father with the 9-5 job. I understand that typically sets the basis for future relationships, but in my case, it changed my perspective. As much as I respect my parents, I do not want to be like them. I see myself doing bigger and better things. I consider myself to be highly independent. My career choice is a great indicator of what my future will look like. There's nothing wrong with wanting more for yourself than your parents if anything it shows character.

A little background information on myself is that I grew up living with my parents and my sister. We didn't really have anyone else besides ourselves. It became lonely, so I was essentially forced to be close to my family, whether I liked it or not. My sister and I shared a room with a bunk bed, so she was constantly in my hair. My sister had naturally become a role model for me. My parents raised me to be an overachiever. I always excelled in academics. My future was pretty much written out for me. They pushed me and I grew up to be the person I am today. I might not have always agreed with their parenting methods, but I knew that deep down they saw my potential.

Despite my childhood and upbringing, I see things differently than my parents. I grew to realize that in order to have happiness, you don't have to have a white picket fence with children and a partner. I personally believe that you can create your own version of happiness. The underlying pressure from society and our parents to have the life THEY envisioned creates unnecessary stress. As much as you might feel obliged to conform, I highly disagree with that mindset. I'm not alluding that this idea of life is wrong, it just may not fit into my picture.

Love is such a beautiful thing, but it takes two to tango. Being in a relationship requires dedication and an emotional commitment from both partners. In past "flings", I found myself pulling both ends of this metaphorical string tied between the two of us. I had never found that healthy medium. It was always me setting for mediocrity.

In all honesty, I don't know what my future will look like. I've never been in a long-term relationship, so I can't see myself in the white picket fence vision. I believe that focusing on my career is a priority and that everything else is secondary. The idea of settling down when I've barely made a dent in my career is just going to hold me back from my potential. As much as I would love to have someone to do life with, I just haven't found a person worth my time yet. Besides, I have big aspirations, so I tend to intimidate people.

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