An Open Letter To My Dad

To My Dad, On My 18th Birthday

Thank you for loving me, and for being my guardian angel.

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Dear Dad,

Time really flies. It seems like only yesterday that you were still here, in person. I'm almost eighteen now, and I can't help but thank you for what you've taught me, even if you aren't here in person to teach it to me. Even though I was forced to learn the lessons you wanted me to with a different man. But what you taught me was something that no one but you could have. You taught me how to let go and how to be myself. How to let go of that bad grade on that one test, how to let go of dead pets, how to let go of the mean words that can sometimes feel like a thousand knives, how to let go of you.

The first thing you taught me wasn't a lesson that I should have learned as early as I did but I'm thankful that the terrible thing that happened to you could teach me something other than grieving. You taught me how I could let go of the bad, negative things holding me back. In freshman year, I went through a series of depressions for about five months. My sadness about your death made me want to join you because it felt as if I couldn't live on Earth and be happy. But it was all you who taught me that it was time to let go, that I couldn't change anything that had happened to you, but that I could change what was going to happen to me.

By your death, you taught me how to let go of everything bothering me. I will never let go of you, but I had to let go of the sadness attached to you. No one could have taught me that better than you. So no matter if it's letting go of a comment someone said to me or if it's a pet dying, or a bad grade on a test, I think of you, in my head, telling me that it's okay to let it go. This lesson is so important and I'm thankful that you taught it to me so early because later on, the loss is still going to hurt, but already knowing and being able to let go is going to help me a lot, so thanks, dad.

You also taught me how to be myself.

After you left this world when I was five, I didn't know that meant goodbye forever. But as life went on and I got older, there was that one crashing day when I stopped wishing for you to come back, for you to be here; it was the day I knew you never could come back. So, I started channeling who I was, the little girl you left behind twelve years ago. You taught me how to "grow into my own skin", how to be myself. I missed out on many father-daughter moments, and I'm going to miss out on many more to come. When I was bullied in middle school and freshman year of high school, I thought of you pushing me through, telling me to keep going. You told me that it was them that needed to change, not me. You taught me to be me and to never change myself for anyone else.

So thank you, thank you for teaching me a life lesson that many don't learn until their thirties. You won't be there when I graduate high school, when I leave for college, to walk me down the aisle, or when I have my first kid. But it's okay. Although I'll never not miss you and never not want you here, I am thankful for the things you've taught me. I can let go now of all the things that bothered me, that I don't want to know. I can let go of you. I can let go of what happened and your death, and the path of sorrow you left taught me that. Thank you for listening, for being patient, for always watching over me. Thank you for always telling me that I can do it. Thank you for being my dad. Even if you can't fulfill the duty in person, you've already exceeded it in my heart. The ache will never go away and I'm still learning how to cope with the grief sometimes, but you taught me how to let go better than anyone. I love you forever, thank you.

With love, from your daughter.

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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.
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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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16 Things To Get Your Dad This Father's Day

Shopping for men might be one of the hardest things ever, especially when it's for your dad.

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I've never met a woman who actually enjoys shopping for a guy unless they already have a gift in mind. For every birthday, anniversary, Father's Day, and everything in between, women genuinely dread trying to figure out yet another gift.

I think guys are hard to shop for because most guys aren't traditional and they don't voice their wants when it comes to material things, most of the time. Therefore, shopping for your dad is by far one of the hardest tasks.

What do you get the man that literally gave you life and has provided for you all these years? You're too old to just draw a card that says, "Happy Father's Day, Dad! I love you!" You're also too broke to buy something super nice.

Fret no more! In honor of Father's Day coming up on June 16th, here are 16 things you can get your dad this Father's Day:

1. Baseball style hat 

A dad hat as a Father's Day present, what a concept!

2. Echo Dot

This is honestly a present the whole family can enjoy.

3. A nice phone case

Your dad, if he's anything like mine, probably has an old and busted Otterbox on his phone. Break him of his habits and switch that for a nice leather case this Father's Day.

4. Cufflinks

Help your Dad look extra after getting him some nice cufflinks he can wear to work. (Disclaimer: this gift is very cliche but I'm sure your dad will love anything you give him.)

5. Apparel from your school/future school

This one is for my college students- past, present, and future. Get your dad a t-shirt with your school's mascot on it and not only will he love it, but you can make sure he reps the best!

*Go Noles!*

6. Portable charger

I'm sure everyone could use one of these.

7. Yeti/Yeti-style tumbler

For boat days, when he's grilling at the family barbecue, or even for work, this gift can always come in handy for your dad. The possibilities of what to fill it with are endless.

8. Tickets to a sporting event

Dads love sports, so what better gift than some hockey tickets for the local team that you can actually afford? Or maybe even tickets for when his favorite baseball team comes to town? You'll be the favorite child for sure.

9. Cheesy Mug(s)

This worked when you were a kid and you're still young enough to pull this off.

10. A tie(s)

If your dad is the professional type, I'm sure he'd adore a tie you picked out! He'll be able to think of you every time he wears it and he'll definitely be matching because you can also show him which outfit to wear it with!

11. His favorite beer, liquor, etc.

Dads and beer go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you are of age, pick up a case of your dad's favorite brew, or a bottle of his favorite adult beverage this Father's Day. After all you've put him through over the years, this will be much needed.

12. A DIY redeemable craft

If you're feeling extra lovable, make dad some sort of redeemable coupon book for running errands or mowing the lawn. Maybe, just maybe, you're still young and broke enough for your dad to love it!

13. A nice shaving kit/toiletries bag 

Every man could always use a nice bag to carry his bathroom stuff in, especially if a shaving kit comes inside.

14. A nice cologne

Every man could use a nice cologne that smells great, too.

15. A shirt with a cheesy Dad saying or sporting something he loves

I have never seen a Dad not love a tee with his favorite sports team across the front, or even a tee with a cheesy dad joke. My dad personally has many of both. Invest in one this Father's Day, I'm sure he'll love it.

16. A gift card to a sporting goods/hunting/fishing store (or whatever he likes)

This enables your dad to pick his own gift, so this will ensure that you got him something he wants in the long run.

I hope this helped and gave you some inspiration. Happy shopping and Happy Father's Day to all the amazing dads out there!

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