What Father's Day Means To Me

What Father's Day Means To Me

What does it really mean to be a father?
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Father's Day is that special time of the year when we honor the most important men in our lives. The men who have raised us, inspired us, and taught us so much. As someone who did not grow up with their biological father in the home, this day has meant something a little different to me than it does to others. I spent this Father's Day reflecting on what being a father really means to me.

As a child, I would see my dad periodically through the year. Since I was so young, I did not really have a full understanding of the situation. All I knew was my dad was a funny guy who usually brought me gifts and I loved spending time with him. But eventually, the day would end and he would go home and I would just have to look forward to the next time I would see him.

The older I got, the more I learned about what happened between my parents. They had differences like a lot of people and decided the best thing for both of them would be to get a divorce. When they got divorced, I wasn't born yet so I obviously didn't know anything about it. I didn't know the circumstances or even what it really meant. I spent a long period of time thinking that I was the reason my parents got divorced. I thought my father didn't want me, I wasn't good enough, and that was why he felt like he had to leave.

That feeling eventually went away the older I got. Unfortunately, it was replaced by anger. I was angry at my dad. I was angry he wasn't around. I was angry he didn't want to spend time with me. I was angry at myself for being angry. It just seemed so easy and logical to be angry. He wasn't around, I didn't know how to deal with that, so anger was the only way out. I shouldn't have let this affect me the way it did.

As a college student, I have matured and come to terms with my situation. My dad isn't around all the time, but that's OK I know I am still loved and I know he wants the best for me. To me, that's what it means to be a father. To love and support your children no matter what the circumstance. No amount of distance should keep you from loving your child. Are things perfect? Of course they aren't. But I don't expect them to be perfect. No family is perfect, no matter how non-nuclear that family is.

I have a mother. She is the best mom I could ask for and I wouldn't trade her in for anyone else. I also have a stepfather. A great man who has taught me so much and helped me grow as a person. Lastly, I have a dad. No, he doesn't live with me and no I don't see him everyday. But he's still my dad. A man who has supported me and been there for me when it counts. Someone I could never repay for all he's done for me.

Happy Father's Day, Dad. I love you.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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An Open Letter To The Friend Who Became My Sister

Love is thicker than blood.
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Sis,

There are friends. Then, there are best friends.

According to "Grey’s Anatomy’s" Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang, they're your person. The one who, “if I murdered someone, I’d call you to help me drag the corpse across the living room floor.” You’re so much more to me than any of those titles can express.

As I’ve matured throughout the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that good friends with good hearts serve an incredibly important purpose in our lives, going above and beyond what we give them credit and appreciation for.

The family we choose. You’re one of those.

The day we met, I knew that you were going to play an important role in my life. What I had no idea of was that you would join the cast of my life with a starring role.

First, I need to say thank you. Thank you for always coming to my locker to check in before class during high school. Thank you for letting me control the music on road trips. Thank you for sharing your family with me, and addressing my family as if you were born into it.

Thank you for patiently listening to the physical embodiment of a broken record when I complain about the same boy I’ve loved since senior year. Thank you for tagging along on every doctor’s appointment, grocery run, and trip to the post office, just because you know that I hate doing things alone.

Thank you for not thinking twice before dialing when I text you “please call me.” Thank you for never saying no to a coffee date. Thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for being my better half.

We don't share the same genetic makeup, but after all the sleepovers, heart-to-heart conversations, shopping until our bank accounts cry, and swapping clothes so often that we don’t know what belongs to whom, how could I not consider you family? We have shared some my fondest memories together, and I wouldn’t want them to feature anyone but you.

You’ve been with me on my best days, and loved me on my worst. You know how to make me laugh when all I want to do is crawl into a hole and die.

Picturing sitting in my car with you in the passenger seat makes me long for summer, where we spend three months together doing all of our favorite things. You’ve seen me naked, done my makeup, and warned me before making a poor decision. Being away from you for extended periods of time makes me feel incomplete.

You are a piece of me that I am not quite whole without. You taught me that blood doesn’t make a family; love does.

You know me better than I know myself, which is both amazing and terrifying. You make me realize I’m enough for this world, and that means more to me than I know how to express in the limited words that make up the English language.

You remind me that I am more than my mistakes, and you keep me grounded when I spiral out of control. You’ve helped me carry my burdens along with your own, even when the universe comes down on you full force, way harder than you deserve.

You’re the one I come to for the truth if I think my new dress makes me look fat, and I know you’ll be honest. I trust you with my whole heart. You know the gory details about every boy I’ve ever crushed on, every professor who was an absolute jerk, and every fight I’ve had with my mom.

I wouldn’t make it in this life without someone who already understands and listens to every thought going through my head and each thing I seriously over think, even when you know, though you don’t say, it won’t matter in a week.

With all these affectionate things being said, don’t forget our fights. The few we’ve had were very real. We still don’t see eye to eye on some events of the past, but I never told my mom about it because there was no need to make her choose a side between me and her “second daughter.

We have learned to move forward, because the love we have for each other overwhelmingly outweighs any disagreement we’ve had, and always will.

Through all the tears and laughs, I don’t think that anything the world has to offer could seriously come between us. You go to a different school than me now, and college has rudely gotten in the way of our routine of spending every waking moment together.

Since we met, we’ve grown separately without growing apart. Neither of us are the same person we used to be all those years ago. Even so, we’ve pushed each other to our limits and you’ve given me the courage to keep going and do things that make me happy.

We lean on each other when it’s been a bad day and all we want to do is to snuggle and indulge in whichever show the other is currently watching unceasingly and unabashedly for comfort (it’s the little things). Having you as my co-pilot on this crazy ride called life has been frustrating, exciting, slightly concerning, absolutely insane, and something I don’t know how I would live without, and I don’t intend to find out.

I’ll conclude this letter with a quote from every basic, white girl’s favorite musical, “I don’t know if I’ve been changed for the better, but because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”

Love you forever,

Your sis

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11 Pieces Of Fatherly Advice Everyone Needs To Be Reminded Of

The greatest man in the world is bound to give the greatest advice.

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Months and months ago my father wrote down his favorite quotes and pieces of advice for himself after reading my favorite book, "Tuesdays With Morrie."

He has always given me stellar advice about love, loss and self-worth. Now, I will share it with the world.

This one is for you, Dad.

1. Be bold but not aggressive

This is a personal favorite of mine, especially as an extrovert. I sometimes worry that being the open person I am that I come off too strong or too abrasive.

With this piece of advice though, I remind myself not to "overdo" it. Just be natural.

2. Be confident with room for humility

If there is one thing I have learned from my father it is humility. A sense of humbleness.

I am proud of the person I am, but I have learned to never think I am above anyone else or that I am more important.

3. Love others with all your heart and family with all you are

We are loving people in this household and this piece of advice proves just that.

Despite who you are or what you come off to be, it is important to love friends and lovers with every part of yourself to ensure you did everything you could.

It is important to love family with all you are because lots of the time they made you who you are in the first place.

4. When it comes to dating, even if you don't love them make sure you at least respect them

Not every person you date is "the one." Not every person you date you are going to marry.

Even so, at least respect that person you are seeing. Be polite, be courteous, be kind — be respectful to their needs even if you can't love them.

5. Be patient when it comes to true love, it is rare but so fine

My parents have a love like no other.

They are true loves, soulmates and life partners, BUT it also took time for them to get married.

6. Reserve the harshest judgement for yourself

Tough love is normal. Critiquing is normal.

What is not normal is being cruel and inconsiderate. Leave the harshest judgment for behind closed doors, in a mirror — not towards others.

7. Be tolerant but not submissive

Be patient and kind, to a point. Do not settle for something you do not deserve. Be grateful for what is fair.

8. Don't sweat the small stuff — everything is small stuff

This piece of advice speaks for itself. Do not stress the things that are out of your control. Do not get upset over little things.

In a short period of time, you won't even remember it.

9. Live with passion

Be motivated in your work, in your love, in your friendships and yourself. Living life to the fullest with joy in your heart makes for the best life.

10. Treat the elderly with honor and respect

My dad says that time is a teacher and knowledge is acquired. If it weren't for our elders, we wouldn't learn from the past.

11. Have courage and be kind — remember all your grace

This has become my motto in life. I think it means to be fearless, do things that scare you and stand up for yourself while still being a good person and better yet a KIND person.

It is important to know yourself and be true to you.

So, thank you, dad, for all your words of advice. I couldn't have lived this beautiful life without you.

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