To The Person I Thought I Needed

To The Person I Thought I Needed

I'm happy and I hope you are, too.
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Dear Person I Used To Know,

Hi. My name is Mackenzie. But, you knew that. I just figured I'd start with the basics, because even though you know a lot about me, you don't know me anymore. Although you helped raise me, the last time we spoke was around five years ago.

The other day I came to pick up my little sister from the house I grew up in, your house. I usually wait in the car and try to avoid the situation entirely. But for some reason, this time I walked up to the house that built me and knocked on the door to wait for my sister to come to the car. My eyes glanced to our old miniature pond that had frozen over. I still recall the day we put it in beside our front porch. My eyes flashed around to the blue shutters we picked out, and the basketball hoop we used to use during summer nights. I remember the house being so big but, for some reason it wasn't anymore. I remember it used to mean something to me, but it didn't anymore. Honestly, when I walked up the steps I felt upset because I wanted to feel something, anything, and I didn't.

My first semester of college truly changed me in ways I cannot begin to explain. The other day I saw you at my sister's basketball game. You were walking side by side with my mom laughing as if nothing had ever happened. "Why are you being nice to him?" I snapped unable to resist making the snide remark. But, for the first time since the divorce, I felt a twinge of regret.

To be truthful, I believe I just wanted to hurt you like you hurt me. I know you didn't mean to hurt us, but you did. You left. You broke your promise. The sad thing is that I do not even know what you know. Perhaps you don't realize what you put us through. And I think that is part of the reason I have been so mad at you all these years. Because maybe if you would have known the outcome, things would have been different.

Maybe you don't remember. I doubt you do because you didn't see it. But, I was there. I saw it all.

I remember when I would hear the screams and my mom's voice crack as she cried. So, I would lace up my tennis shoes to run away from it all; my worries, my thoughts, my home. For three hours straight I would run to get away from adult discussions that turned into shouts and tears of despair.

You didn't see when I was vigorously mean to my mom who did nothing at all. "He doesn't want us! He doesn't want us anymore. We have to get over it and move on. Why do you want someone that doesn't want you?!" My tough love was fueled by my own hurt.

You didn't see me come up with excuse after excuse. Every time my teacher asked if I was okay, I would just pretend I had another sleepless night from staying up watching television.

You didn't see me cover up the truth. For months I didn't speak a word of my home life for fear that someone might piece together parts of my broken puzzle.

You didn't see my sister have break downs, and there was nothing I could do to fix it. I would have gave everything I had to take away her pain.

You didn't see me the night my mom told me you were leaving. When I asked what was wrong, I was not prepared for my mom to admit the words "He wants a divorce." I remember thrashing my fists into the dashboard. My legs kicked and tears streamed down my face while the knot in my stomach tightened.

You didn't see me defend you against my mom's suspicions only to be heart broken when I found them to be true.

You didn't see me break down in tears last year at my aunt's wedding when the ceremony between the step dad and daughter took place.

You didn't see me get my first job.

You didn't see me get my first car.

You didn't see me practice my salutatorian speech for graduation.

You didn't see how strong I was when everything fell apart.

You didn't see me writing this as tears filled my eyes because more than I'd like to admit, sometimes the emotions are still too raw.

You didn't see me.

You didn't see how amazing I am; because, you're not here.

One day my friend told me "You remember things that you have experienced in your life, because they made you feel happy or sad."

This phrase made me sad. It made me so sad, for you. Because out of all the bad that happened, I try my best to forget all the good.

And I think that's the worst part, I remember. I remember it all.

I remember when you helped me craft my school projects. We bought a plastic toy dog and made a clay sculpture of the Great Sphinx in 6th grade.

I remember when you jumped over the stair case to chase me down and throw water on me. My pajamas were soaked, so I had to change into new ones. Mom always yelled at us, but we never listened.

I remember how you were always there- for every swim meet, clarinet recital, pageant, etc.

I remember how happy you used to make my mom.

I remember how happy you used to make me.

And I think that's why I hate you so much.

I want you to know something I never thought I would say: You are not your mistakes. You did a shitty thing. You did a really shitty thing by leaving. And I think that's what hurt so damn bad. I never expected to hate you, because I loved you, and I know you loved me, too. I never expected to hate you because the thought never crossed my mind that one day you might actually leave.

The truth is I wanted to hate you. But, I don't. I hate what you did.

I hope you see what a great life you have even though I am not in it. Your kids turned out to be some amazing people, and I am happy to be able to call them my own siblings. I never needed you to be my dad. My own is pretty phenomenal. The truth is I just wanted you to be here, because for as long as I can remember, you always had been.

Honestly though, I am sorry that I thought I needed you. I shouldn't have put that pressure on you. I should not have given you that control over me, my life, and my happiness. The truth is that I really thought I needed you. But, I don't. I ended up being just fine. So, please do not worry about me. Please, do not have regrets about me, because I turned out better than I could have ever imagined.

Forgiving is about no longer resenting a person for a flaw or mistake they made. My life is too busy, and I am too happy to leave this negativity inside me any longer. So, I can no longer hate you, because I simply don't know you any more. My mom raised me to be better than what makes me weak. Although, I cannot forgive the situation, and I cannot forgive the past...

I do forgive you.

My little sister says really nice things about you. For that, I am thankful, and I pray you continue to love her like you do. You may not be in my life anymore, but I can only hope that you will be as involved in hers as you were in mine. Because if you are, then there is not a better dad out there that she can call her own. One day I might meet the you, the new you, and you can reenter into my life again. But if not, that's okay. Like I have said before, I am doing just fine on my own, and my life has never been better.

When you left you said you weren't happy anymore. For the first time though, I am truly happy; and, I hope that you are, too.

Sincerely,

The Girl Who Only Needed Herself

Cover Image Credit: LeLoveImpage Blog Spot

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Types of Dads

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Fathers are an important part of their children's lives, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Though all dads seem to have a certain "dad" vibe, there are distinct types of dads everyone can identify.

1) The Typical Dad



This dad has the "dad bod," wears glasses, and owns a certified pair of "dad sandals." He packed your lunches when you were little and asks how your day was when you get home from school. He tells lots of corny "dad jokes," especially about the loss of his hair. He loves sharing embarrassing stories of when you were little, then proceeds to tell your friends how he loves to embarrass you. This dad constantly switches the channel from news to sports. He debates about politics and enjoys a good barbecue on the grill outside. There is a 99% chance that he threw you up in the air when you were a baby (and almost dropped you).

2) The Outdoors-y Dad



This dad lives and breathes the outdoors. He loves camping and drags the family on lots of adventures in unique nature spots. Most of his shoes are outdoor heavy-duty boots because he is always ready for adventure. He can fix pretty much anything in the house, and you always ask him to open cans or bottles for you. His favorite hobbies include hiking, kayaking, ziplining, riding four-wheelers, and mowing the lawn with his John Deer. He drives your mom up the wall by driving different ways home because of the "scenic view." He has definitely subjected you to wake up early just to view the sunrise, something he often does himself.

3) The Cool Dad



In his mind, this dad is still 18 years old and still the popular kid he was in high school. His idea of formal wear consists of skinny jeans and a T-shirt with a suit jacket. Young or not, this dad tries to keep up with male fashion trends. He can often be found at youth events and jokes that he is still "young at heart." He loves pulling out pictures from the "good ole days" and constantly tries to prove that he's "still got it." He tries to fit in with your friends when they come over, and does his best to keep up with the slang of young people. He greets you with "yo" and texts "lol" in every message.

4) The No-Nonsense Dad



This dad most likely was in the military. He will NOT stand for your foolishness while you are "under his roof" (his favorite phrase). He wakes up super early and gets mad if you don't. He is intense during disagreements, and his most effective method of communicating is demanding. You have endured many speeches on life and your behavior if it is not satisfactory (which is pretty much always). His hobbies include asking about your grades, going down to your school, commenting on what you are wearing, and checking the condition of your room. Though you sometimes feel like a disappointment, this dad ultimately wants the best for you, which is why he is so hard on you.

5) The "Walking Wallet" Dad



This dad is a walking bag of money, to say the least. He started spoiling you from a young age, so there is no turning back now. All your friends are jealous because you always have nice things, thanks to him. He bought you your first car and first phone. Growing up, he gave you an allowance, but still ended up buying you everything anyway. This dad is pretty much an extra scholarship you will always have throughout your life.

6) The Athletic Dad



This dad is a born athlete. He played sports, most likely football, in high school and has not acquired the "dad bod" due to his intense workout regimen. His breakfast consists of strange things, like raw eggs and energy smoothies that make you gag. This dad never misses your sporting events and does more yelling than the coach while there. There is a 50% chance this dad is a personal trainer. You tried to workout with him once and almost died. Most of your friends think he is hot, and you have to remind them he is 20 years their senior (and also your dad--Gross!).

7) The Quiet Dad



His main function in your life is moral support. He is always there for you, but he is more of a listener than a talker. This dad knows a lot and gives great advice if you ask his opinion. This dad teared up at your graduation, when you went on your first date, and at your wedding.

All dads are important! Which is your dad?

Cover Image Credit: Flickr Photography - Giancarlo Zortea

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Thank You, Mom

You are the best mom around and the greatest one to ever exist.
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Hey Mom, I just wanted to thank you for everything that you do. I want to give you a reminder about why you're the best mom around and the greatest one to ever exist.

Thank you for being selfless.

You always make sure to put us first. You make sure that we're using our manners, following the rules, and living our lives to the fullest. You always make sure we are happy.

Thank you for all of your support.

You make sure to support us in everything we do. Even if you don't believe in what we're doing, you make sure to be there for us completely.

Thank you for always being there to help.

If we need money, food, advice, or anything... You are always there to help. Even if you are struggling, you make sure to help us.

Thank you for always listening.

Whenever I needed to vent about roommates, life, school, professors, stress, you name it, you've always been there to listen and give advice.

Thank you for teaching me how to be independent.

I went far from home but I knew how to be "independent". Yes, I may text and call you all the time, but most of the time, I can handle everything on my own.

Thank you for believing in me.

College definitely hasn't been easy for me. With you being there every step of the way, I am graduating on time and I am doing okay. There were times that I didn't believe in myself, but I had you there by my side to believe in me for me.

Thank you for teaching me that family is important.

With everything going on, you have always put family first. You make sure we all know that we are loved and you always find time to talk to everyone about their days and what we are doing. I know to always put McKenzie first because he is the beginning of my own little family. You helped me realize this.

Thank you for putting up with me.

I know I am a handful, and I especially was when I was younger. I could never behave at a restaurant (and especially not at a water park). I have always been needy, but it's been okay.

Thank you for being strong.

Things have been rough for you lately, but you never fail to remain as strong as you possibly can. You always put on a strong face even when you are broken, to make sure that we stay strong, too.

And of course, thank you for loving me, Mommy!

Cover Image Credit: Megan Trakalo

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