Dear Dad,

You have had a major impact on my life. Every little girl wants to have a loving father, a man to look up to, to show her what a real man is like. You have shaped me more than you will ever know. I wrote this letter because I want to thank you for the major influence you have had on my life.

I want to thank you for all the encouraging words that were never said. Thank you for not showing me what a father’s love is. Thank you for empty words of affection that made me question every other word you said. Thank you for not coming to my sporting events, performances, and ceremonies. Thank you for not making me feel safe when I was scared. Thank you for not taking care of me when I was sick. Thank you for not driving me to and from school every day for so many years. Thank you for all the Christmases, Thanksgivings, Fourth of Julys, Easters, etc., when you did not show up. Thank you for the memories that were never made. Thank you for not helping me with homework or telling me to do my best. Thank you for not teaching me how to drive, even after you told me you would. Thank you for the days, weeks, months, and years without contact. Thank you for not spending time, writing, or calling. Thank you for never being there.

Your absence in my life has made me who I am. Because of you, I know exactly how much love a mother can have for her daughter -- how one person can love enough for two. But also, I now know how important a strong father is for a little girl. Because of you, I know what to look for in a husband. I know what a little girl needs by the absences I've had in my life. Because of you, I know exactly what a father is not.

I also want you to know that I am OK without you. I still grew up and learned my lessons without you. Despite you not being there, I turned out fine. More than fine, actually. I turned out extraordinary. I am sorry you were not there, not only for me, but for you too. you missed out on something amazing. You missed out on watching your little girl grow up, learning, and succeeding.

Sometimes I like to think you tried to be there. I like to think you did care about me, that you still do. And I do think you do, just in your own way. And in all sincerity, I am sorry, because I could have done better at connecting with you as well.

But with all this said, thank you for the imprint you have left on my life. Isn’t it crazy that you don't even have to be present to leave a lasting mark?

Sincerely,

The daughter you missed out on