I know we’ve never met. We’ve never hugged, argued or laughed together. You’ve never checked under my bed for monsters, kissed my forehead or bandaged a boo-boo. You’ve never scolded me for being bad or taught me right from wrong, you’ve never walked me down the aisle. You never read me a book at night, gave me advice or wiped a tear.
You weren’t there when I was younger and my mom would beat me. The nights that I had nothing to eat and no clean clothes, you didn’t tell me it would be ok. I was with a mother who moved twice a year which lead to me attending 11 elementary schools, two junior highs and one high school. A mother who sent me to girls homes or tried to pawn me off on my friends parents. A mom who let her boyfriend hit me, hang me upside down by my ankles and spank me because I left a fork in the sink.
Dad, when I was 5 years old my mother would leave me with her live-in boyfriend when she went to bed. He molested me for a year. My mom found out because at 6 years old my little body couldn’t stand the stress anymore and I had a nervous breakdown. Less than a year later my mother let me drive home with a stranger who pulled the car over halfway home and made me fondle him. You weren’t there to protect me, you weren’t there to tell me it would be ok and, more importantly, you weren’t there to help me pick up the pieces of my shattered innocence. And try as I might, through teenage promiscuity, I never got the pieces put back together.
Dad, remember when I sent you a letter in 2004 asking for a family history and if I had any siblings? You sent a letter back stating I had three older siblings; Jeffrey, Julie and Jolene. Guess what – I contacted them via the internet. One day I will meet them in person. We talk via Facebook, a reason I love social media, I can watch as my sisters become grandma’s, see my niece play in her softball games and send them messages that I love them.
Dad, you don’t know this but growing up I had a hard time watching movies like Armageddon and Father of the Bride. Any movie that involved a father/daughter relationship would tear away at the gaping hole in my heart. I would spend hours in tears after watching those movies, traumatized by the fact I would never know a relationship with you.
Dad, remember earlier when I said you never walked me down the aisle? I’m married to a man named Jason. We have six amazing kids. He has four boys from his first marriage, I have a boy from my first marriage and we have a beautiful baby girl together. My blended family is so amazing. All the kids are unique, each with their own wonderful personality. I was scared to have kids. I was scared that if I had a baby girl I would be jealous of her relationship with my husband. But I had my first child and it changed my world. My husband was a devoted father, loving and giving to his son. My second husband is an amazing father as well; god-fearing, smart and hard-working for his family. Being a mom is the best thing that has happened to me.
I guess you’re wondering why I am writing you this letter. Why am I letting you know all these things? Well, I wanted to say thank you.
Thank you for not being there while I was growing up. Because even though you were an absent father, my Father above was not. He was by my side every moment and placed wonderful men in my life to show me how real men should be. Thank you for leaving me with a mom who constantly uprooted my home. Even though moving twice a year was awful and I was constantly starting a different school it taught me as an adult to adapt to any situation. I can walk into a room full of complete strangers and feel totally at ease. I can strike up a conversation with anyone who comes my way and feel confident on my own. Thank you for not showing me what a husband should be like. On my own I was able to find two men who are amazing people. Even though my first marriage didn’t work out, it wasn’t because he was a bad guy, he is a wonderful man but we both made stupid mistakes. My husband, Jason, is funny, loving and caring. Both of these men are everything you weren’t. Had you been around maybe I would’ve ended up with someone like you. Thank you for letting me find out in my mid-twenties that I had older siblings. It was my first experience with love at first sight. The minute I knew I had siblings, I loved them and wanted to meet them – still want to meet them. Thank you for not being around my children as you probably would’ve made a lousy grandparent. My kids don’t know you and aren’t hurt by your absence. Thank you for being absent because it taught me everything I didn’t want to be as a parent. It taught me that I would be there for my children, whatever the situation is, and they won’t ever second guess that. It taught me to hug them every opportunity I could, to kiss them and tell them I love them everyday.
Dad, I also wanted you to know that I forgive you. You see, holding on to anger and hostility about my childhood is a reflection of my spirit, not yours. I can sleep at night knowing that I am doing my best for my family. I feel bad for you and how your life must be. You’ve never met your grandkids, your child and you must be a very lonely person. It’s been a long road to get to where I’m at today. Many mistakes and tears. I forgive you for the abandonment and the pain that you put me through because that’s what my heavenly Father taught me was the right thing to do. And honestly, you’re not worth the heaviness of the burden that I carried for so long.
The gaping hole in my heart that I talked about earlier – it’s been sewn up with seven beautiful stitches: Jason, Eli, Payton, Gavin, Logan, Adan and Aliya.