A Letter To My Dad

A Letter To My Dad

A note to the greatest guy I've ever known on his birthday.

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Hi Dad,

Part of me doesn't know how to even begin this letter because there's so much I want to say to you.

It's been over four years since I last saw you, spoke to you, or hugged you, and I can't believe it's been that long. Simultaneously, though, I sometimes feel like you could still be on a business trip and will walk through the garage door in your suit with your briefcase after a long flight from Europe or some other amazing place.

There's so much I wish you were here for. Not just Jack's middle school graduation, my high school career, my college process, high school graduation, and moving into college, but also the little day-to-day moments I loved so much.

I loved sauce-making days because you would put on swim goggles to cut onions, and you would always put me in charge of cutting the green pimiento olives (which most people still tell me have no place in marinara sauce, but they obviously haven't tried it) and would let me help you season the braciole despite much protest that I "did it wrong." You would make a mess of the kitchen in your recipe-less cooking storm and Mom would begrudgingly clean it up. We managed to (after much trial and error and some really bad batches that I won't describe) find an almost-accurate recipe for your sauce since you never left us one. It was always in your head.

I miss you picking me up from school on the last Friday before Christmas to go antipasto shopping at King's. You always made fun of me for smelling the soup (especially the Italian Wedding, how ironic) as soon as we got there, and we would wander around the aisles, making sure we had everything we needed, sometimes picking up a struffoli for Great-Grandma.

You mostly did sports with Jack, but food was something we always bonded over. Some of my best memories with you were spent in the kitchen.

I miss reading Magic Treehouse and Junie B. Jones with you, laughing at your impressions and the voices you created for each of the characters. I'm going to be honest: when I was little, sometimes (most of the time) I rigged the method of how I picked who would read with me at night so it always picked you. I didn't want to hurt Mom's feelings, but I loved reading books with you.

I'm sad you never got to see me play field hockey or become a captain my junior year. The one middle school game you were able to get to around your crazy work schedule I didn't even play in, and I still think about that sometimes.

I made it to Villanova's School of Business, and I don't know if I even would have ended up studying business if it wasn't for you. Part of me feels that if I follow in your footsteps (somewhat) then I'll feel closer to you. I'm really loving it so far. I definitely made the right decision.

I still miss you. So much. Every day I wear my locket with the picture of us from my eighth-grade graduation in it so I feel like you're with me. I hear a Police or Boston song on the radio, or I see a rainbow, and I know you're around. I persuaded mom not to sell your car so that Jack and I would have a chance to drive it; another way to keep you around.

I keep a video of you teaching Jack how to swing a baseball bat on my phone so I make sure I can hear your voice whenever I'm missing you. The idea that I'll forget anything about you terrifies me because a girl should never be afraid to forget her father.

Most of all, I want to thank you:

Thank you for showing me the difference between being liked and being respected.

Thank you for always holding me to a higher standard, and showing me that the only approval that matters is my own (even though your question of "well, are you happy with that?" in response to an accomplishment didn't always go over well with me).

Thank you for showing me how a guy should treat me and for you and Mom giving me a marriage to look up to.

Thank you for teaching me about generosity, being humble, appreciating every moment, and what it means to be a good person.

Thank you for providing for me and for giving me a safe place to grow up and discover myself.

Thank you for being an amazing father and role model for a girl who still has no idea what she's doing most of the time.

I love and miss you more than any words can describe, but I hope that you are in a better place in whatever lies beyond this life, watching Jack and I grow up. I hope we are making you proud because I will always be proud to be your daughter.

Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you.

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An Open Letter To The First Man Who Never Loved Me

I'm sorry. I thank you. I hope you're happy.
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Dear "Dad,"

I'm not bitter anymore, I'm just sorry.

I'm sorry that you didn't want to be a part of my successes and would rather be my biggest failure. I'm sorry that you chose a life without me in it. I'm sorry that I accomplished so much in the past year and you've heard nothing about it. I'm sorry that you have no right to be proud of me.

I'm sorry that you will never be a part of my life again. I'm sorry that I let you hurt me this badly. I'm sorry that I put so much trust and effort into building a relationship that you just didn't want. I'm sorry that I had faith in you. Most of all, I'm sorry that I wasn't good enough for you.

I look back on all of the times that we never shared together and I don't get sad anymore. Rather, I get a sense of pride in myself. I know how strong I've become just because of your lack of existence. I know that there were people in my life who took your spot and excelled in raising me. I know that you will never see the damage you've done to me, and I promise you that I will make sure you will never see my successes as your own.

SEE ALSO: Be Patient With The Girl Whose Heart Was Broken Before You Came Into Her Life

I remember all of the times I chose you over myself. I think back on all of the times that I tried to keep you, but you still ended up walking out on me. I would like to thank you for this. Thank you for teaching me that no matter how bad I want someone in my life, it doesn't always happen.

Thank you for teaching me that I won't always get what I want. Thank you for letting me down enough times that I only view myself as dependable, and no one else. Thank you for standing back and letting me struggle when it was obvious that you could have helped me. Thank you for making me as independent and self-reliant as I am.

The credit that you don't deserve is given all to my mother. You couldn't even imagine the amount of stress that you put on her. She had to watch her daughter hate herself, believe that it was her fault and cry nightly because of a man who didn't want to be in her life. The first man to break my heart, before I even knew I had a heart to be broken, was you.

I hope you're content with your decisions. I hope you are living the life you wanted to live. I hope that you look back on the daughter that you never had and take this as a learning experience. I hope you learn. I hope you grow as a person. I hope you don't make the same mistakes you have.

SEE ALSO: A Letter To My Step Dad

If you ever wake up one morning and want to come back into my life, don't. I don't need an apology from you. I don't need to hear your voice again. I don't need to know how you're doing, where you are or "what's new." I don't need to answer your questions. I don't need to let you into my heart just to lose you again. I don't need you.

I'm sorry.

I thank you.

I hope you're happy.

Love,
Your "Daughter"

Cover Image Credit: Zierra Treshock

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A Certain 'Thank You' To My Dad

This probably isn't the "thank you" you're expecting.

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I am so (and I cannot stress this enough) blessed to have the dad that I do. There are a lot of things in this life I owe my dad a huge "thank you" for. Driving me to dance class multiple times a week for years, brushing my hair every day when I was little before he took me to pre-school, and hugging me when I have been upset.

Some other things include holding me accountable when I have messed up, while also reminding me he loves me no matter what, teaching me to be fearless in going after my dreams, and being my best friend every single day.

But there is one more thing I think I owe my dad a substantial "thank you" for marrying my stepmom.

I am so unbelievably happy for my dad, as he found someone who makes him happier than ever.

Seeing them together, it is beyond obvious how much she compliments his life, gives him endless amounts of unconditional love, and listens to his jokes.

The thing is, though, that when she married him and took on the role of being a wife, she also took on the role of being a stepmother.

When doing that, she did not have to do so in such a selfless, graceful, compassionate manner. She did not have to do so with such enthusiasm. And she definitely did not have to accept me and treat me as her own.

But she did.

There are few people I look up to as much as I do with my stepmom. She is a wonderful person and has been an exemplary example of hard work, kindness, beauty, and strength.

When I have gone through difficult times, she has been there. And it has not been out of obligation, pity, or as a "favor". It is because she WANTS to be there for me and chooses to be. As far as I can tell, she does not think twice about it.

When I have been happy and am excited about certain accomplishments, she has been there. She has rooted for me, helped me, and made it known she is proud of me.

She has been there for me to confide in, listens to my jokes (I take after my dad when it comes to my humor), and pushes me to be my best.

I think we all are aware I have not always made it easy. In fact, I have actually made it rather difficult at times in the past. But in spite of that, she never gave up on me, and she chose to continue giving me more of her love and forgiveness than she ever needed to.

For that, I will forever be beyond grateful and I will spend the remainder of my life attempting to show her just how much I love, appreciate, and respect her.

To my dad: thank you so much for marrying her.

And to my stepmom: I am so proud to be able to call myself your stepdaughter.

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