To The Parent Who Walked Out, Even If You Came Back, My Door Is Locked Now

To The Parent Who Walked Out, Even If You Came Back, My Door Is Locked Now

I'm Sorry You Left. But I'm Now Not Sorry You're Gone

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Dear parent that left:

It has been a long time since we have spoken. It has been a long time since we have seen each other. And I just wanted to take a moment to sit down and write you this letter. This letter is not being written out of anger. It is not being written out of spite. It is not being written with hatred in mind. It is not being written for any other reason than I felt the need to write it. This letter is to you. It is a letter to the parent that walked out. I am sorry you left. But I'm not sorry you're gone.

In your eyes, I could never be perfect. You found a reason to criticize everything I did. Whether it was a foolish choice to spend money I should not have as a kid, to the choice to oversleep and not be able to deliver my papers to the customers that were waiting for them to a dozen or more choices I made foolishly (in your eyes) growing up. But one thing you never seemed to realize is that I was a kid. Kids make mistakes. You just couldn't accept that.

What you didn't realize as I was growing up was that I battled demons in my head. I struggled with things nobody could hear or see. I made decisions not based out of rationality or reasonable decisions. I made choices because I wanted to make them. And rather than explain my mistakes, you found reasons to criticize me, insult me, say negative things about the poor choices (as you saw) I made, and one thing after another, you always made me feel like I was never going to do the right thing or be good enough.

I wish it would have stopped when I was a kid. It was hard enough growing up never being good enough for you. It was hard enough never being able to make the right choices. It was always scary wondering when you'd criticize me again, make some nasty comment about something "stupid" i did, or you'd insult me for some "dumb decision i didn't think about." This didn't stop when I was a kid. It continued into my 20's. And then into my 30's. And then, due to what you called a "stupid decision" you walked out on me.

I'm sorry you left. But I'm now not sorry you're gone.

I don't have someone insulting me when I want to go to a concert. I don't have someone criticizing me when I'm not happy with something in my life. I don't have someone making me feel like I'm worthless and I'm never going to amount to anything if I want to look for another job. I don't have someone stepping up and finding something wrong with everything I'm doing. I don't have someone that is verbally, mentally, emotionally and psychologically abusing me day after day in my life, making me feel like I am completely and totally worthless. You did a great job at making me feel like I wouldn't amount to anything and that I would never measure up to what you thought I should do, or how I should be.

I'm not you. I never was going to be you. I'm never going to be you. I've lived my own life, made my own decisions (most of them stupid according to you), made my own choices, and I've managed to stay alive all these years, have a nice house to live in, drive a nice car, keep the same friends, have a good job (regardless of where I worked), finish not one, not two, not three but four college degrees. And I've managed to raise two great kids. I'm sorry you left. But now I'm not sorry you're gone.

I've heard about all of the things you've said about me through the years. I would like to come back with some nasty comments myself. But I won't. Because that would make me act like someone I don't want to act like. You.

I have worked my entire life to not be like you. I have promised myself I would not degrade my kids, make them choose religion, make them do things they didn't want to do, psychologically, emotionally or verbally abuse them, and I would not make them feel like they are worthless. I tell them every single day how much I love them. I don't ever remember you telling me that. Imagine having a father that never tells his kid that he loves him? I don't remember that. Not one time. Not ever. I tell my kids that every day.

But this won't become a pissing match. I'm not going to lower myself to your level. I don't have to. You don't know anything about me. Because you walked on me. Do you remember that?

It's been a long nine years. And I keep counting. I'd often wondered "if" I'd cross you on the street, or if I'd encounter you in a mall, or possibly see you at a family funeral. I did see you one time. It's been about five years. Do you remember? We sat at an umpires meeting for a tournament we were going to work. Across the table from each other. You couldn't even look at me. You didn't even acknowledge me. You didn't say hello to me. My best friend and umpire partner was shocked. But afterward, he said he realized I'd never lied. And he told me that you were a horrible person to not even acknowledge your own kid.

I didn't argue with him. All I told him is that at least I know I'm not like you. I'm not a parent who won't recognize their own kids. I'm not a parent who won't tell their kids that he loves them. And more than anything, I told my friend I'm doing something that you didn't do. I'm staying in my kids' lives.

This letter is for you. It's for the parent that walked out on me. I'm sorry that you left. But I'm now not sorry that you're gone. I don't have someone insulting me, criticizing me, saying mean things about me, making me feel like I'm worthless, and I don't have someone making me feel like I won't amount to anything. I have a good job. I have a nice house. I have a wonderful family. I have some beautiful friends. God keeps giving me good days of life. He stands there through my bad days of life. And unlike you? The people in my life? They never leave.

I am no longer angry at you parent that walked out of my life. I am not mad anymore at you. I do not say mean things about you. I feel sorry for you. You have a child that you do not know anymore. You have grandchildren that won't talk to you because of the way you've treated me. You have a great-granddaughter that you will never see. It was your choice. You walked out on me. I'm sorry that you left. But I'm now not sorry that you are gone.

I hope you are doing what makes you happy. I hope that one day you will look back and realize that I was never perfect. But neither were you. I hope one day that you realize that you made mistakes too. And I hope one day that you look back and regret what you did. You walked out on a child. You turned your back on your flesh and blood. You lied about things that never happened. You made yourself feel like a victim. I feel sorry for you. I am sad for you. But I have no anger, hatred or anything negative to say about you. I wish you the best. And more than anything? I would like you to look back one day and know that you are the parent that walked out.

I am sorry that you left. But I am finally at peace that you are not coming back. And looking back, knowing how long you've mistreated me, verbally, psychologically and emotionally abused me? I'm not sorry that you're gone.

Sincerely,

The son that you no longer have.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

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The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

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The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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Thank You, Mom And Dad, For Staying Together Through It All

I hope one day I can find a love as strong as my parents so that my kids will never have to experience a broken home.

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Growing up, I always dreamt of finding my true love and having my fairy tale wedding when I was older. My parents gave me such faith from their relationship. They have been together since they were in high school and have never left each others' sides since. I have idolized their marriage since the day I was born and still continue to. I could not imagine going through life without both of them together. Many people in my hometown have divorced parents. It is not uncommon from where I come from, but I recognize how lucky I am. Sure my parents have their fights, even the one time they almost did get a divorce, but they didn't. And I am so grateful for that to this day.

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I have two opinions. I have two people in charge. When one says no, the other will say yes. I have two people to go to with problems at all times. They are accessible, they are there for me, they protect me. I may not agree with everything my dad says, but my mom will have my back on certain points and vice versa. We can work out our problems together. Nothing ever turns out biased when I have them both together. I wouldn't be able to do have the stuff I do with the support of just one parent.

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