More often than not, when you have kids, the focus of your Father’s Day love and affection changes forever from your own dad to the father of your kids, or at least it did for me. So for the past 10 Father’s Days, I’ve focused more on thanking my husband, dad to our two boys, than my own father.
So this is my long overdue thank you to my dad. I’m sharing it in hopes you too can find a minute to write a note to yours this Father’s Day. Good, bad, and otherwise, they are a part of us, and I’m sure there’s something you learned from your dad that’s important to who you are today.
Even though I just saw you last weekend, there were a ton of things I forgot to tell you. It’s always that way. After we hang up the phone or hug goodbye, I think of something I should have said, something I wanted to say thanks for. So, strange as it may seem, I’m writing you instead.
First, I wanted to say thanks for teaching me to have a firm, confident handshake. I know I’ve surprised a few people along the way, and hopefully impressed even more. Seems you weren’t just showing off how strong you were after all. I also wanted to thank you for teaching me the importance of forgiveness. I remember growing up, especially as a teenager, (sorry about those years again) how you would forgive us, no matter how terribly we behaved. You showed me how much happier life can be if we forgive people, even those who hurt us deeply. The ability to forgive is such a powerful and empowering personality trait, that while I wish I didn’t have to explore it so often, I feel lucky to have had you teach me, difficult as it may be, how freeing forgiveness can be.
When I came to you at 23 years old, gushing about how in love I was, you didn’t discourage me from getting married so young. Instead you encouraged me to always be able to stand on my own two feet—no matter what. I remember thinking how awful when you said,”God forbid anything ever happens to Michael, you need to be able to take care of yourself, Maureen.” That conversation stayed with me. While you may have been being practical, I think you were really telling me to follow my dreams, even after I get married. You were saying that while being part of a pair is amazing, remaining a strong individual within that pair will make life even more rewarding. So thanks for scaring me half to death. That worked out.
As I round off my thirties, I wanted to say thanks for teaching me it’s ok to make waves, upset people along the way, and even make a few enemies. This may seem like a strange thing to thank you for, but you showed me that having enemies proves that at some point in my life I cared enough about something to fight for it. I’ve always been a fighter, because you showed me that even if we don’t win the race, the job, or the money, we got out there, fought for something that mattered, and with that can sleep well at night. I’d call a good night’s sleep a win any day. On that note, you were right about staying up late to watch TV. There still isn’t anything on that will help me in the morning.
Happy Father’s Day. I love you.
Love Your Favorite Daughter,