Nearly a year ago you came unannounced, unexpectedly, and unnecessarily into my life for the first time in what, 17 years? When I saw a Facebook friend request from you I felt nothing but anger.

So, I took my time. You took over 15 years to reach out to me so surely you could wait a few months, at the minimum.

I've thought several times in these last months about how I would respond- if I would respond. But it wasn't until today, at this moment that I found the words. It wasn't until I sat watching Miley Cyrus say a final goodbye to her father in "The Last Song" that I felt motivated to write.

Hot tears singed the light freckles on my face as the ran down my bare skin. Surrounded by a room of people, I tried to choke back the wailing my body desperately searched for. But I wasn't crying due to some marvelous epiphany about how I will regret not meeting you now when I still have the chance.

My lip quivered, and tears warped the neckline of my shirt because I could not possibly stand the idea of losing the man that stood by my side all these years. I could feel my heart breaking just thinking about how I would ever say goodbye.

I healed many years ago from the open wounds you left me as a toddler. 15 years ago, you could have had my heart. You were given a second chance when I was nine, but you signed your rights away. And I'm not mad at you for leaving. I'm mad because you think you are entitled to a third chance.

See my father was never handed my heart. He earned it. That is a love far stronger than you could ever imagine. He allowed me the time to hurt. He took the punches that should have been yours, willingly. He understood the anger I had long before I realized it stemmed from you.

Through the therapy, the breakdowns, the lowest of moments, he never stopped telling me I was loved. He has never given up on me. He has given me love far greater than I could ever return.

But I am done hurting. I am through needing you. I guess I never really did in the first place. Really, I should be saying thank you.

Thank you for teaching me what a real father should look like.