An Open Letter To The Dance Recital Dads

An Open Letter To The Dance Recital Dads

You gave up your Saturday nights to watch a bunch of 5-year-olds dance, and that's pretty special.

For one night every June, the stage at a local middle school would be taken over by hundreds of little girls in hair buns, tap shoes, and bedazzled leotards to perform amateur dances to off-Broadway musical songs.

Thanks to my lack of coordination, I always got placed in the back row of my dance class. Since I could rarely even remember the choreography, I mainly just stood in the back and swayed and sang along to the music, anxious to get off stage so I could go eat some Swedish Fish from the concessions stand and watch the other dances. Even though I only appeared for about three minutes of the four hour show, and I danced worse than Buzz Aldrin on "Dancing With The Stars," I could always count on my dad to be there cheering me on.

When I was little, I took his presence for granted. Why wouldn't a grown man want to sit through a four hour dance recital on a Saturday night?

Now that I'm older, I really appreciate all my dad sat through just to support me. These weren't "Dance Moms" quality performances, but he still smiled through it just to show his love for me. He watched hours of other people's daughters tapping their feet and staring blankly at the audience just to see three minutes of me doing the exact same thing.

To all the dads who sit through dance recitals, orchestra concerts, softball games, and cheerleading tournaments: thank you. Thank you for sitting through torture just for a few moments glimpse of your daughter doing her thing. Thank you for supporting us through it all. You treated us like princesses just to help us feel special. You sacrificed your time and money to help us follow our passions, and even though we didn't always appreciate it at the time, now, we know all you did just for us. So, to all the dance recital dads: thank you.

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

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


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.

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