A "Thank You" to My Absent Father

Dear Dad,            

This is your daughter, the 21-year-old junior in college and not the 8-year-old you left behind. Sadly, you do not know who I am and we do not have the strong relationship that most girls have with their fathers. In fact, you have never been there for the crucial moments in my life. You weren’t there for me when I started cheering, I would never see your face in the crowd looking like a proud dad and taking pictures of me. You never attended one of my big pageants that meant the world to me. You never got to see me perform my passion of piano for a crowd of thousands of people and to be honest, because of all that, when I get married, you will not be the one walking me down the aisle.

 I don’t say all this to put you down or to make you feel like lesser man, I say this to finally have you realize that I am strong. There isn’t a day that goes by that I do not think of what life would be like if you had been there to cheer me on, to see me start college, to stand up for me when my heart got broken from some “dumb” boy. I wonder if you would have been the father that would have a man-to-man conversation with him or if you would simply let him go on and think about his mistake and just hold me and tell me that “everything is going to be okay.”

I guess you can say, I wonder what things would be like if you played an active role in my life. I finally understood that growing up without you was the best thing for me. Our paths have crossed and then they divided again, and to be truthful, I like it much better that way. This isn't a letter expressing my bitterness, but rather my thanks to you for not being there.

When I moved from California, I was lost. I was scared. My life was literally in boxes and I wanted nothing more than to understand why you did not love us--mom and me--anymore. What did I do? You were already gone most of my life overseas with your job so why did you have to go and ruin my life? I was hurt and distraught. I wanted to understand but I realized shortly after I arrived at my new home that this would work itself out. The map of my life, should have been clear with little red dashes and circles explaining that things were set in motion. But, that’s not how it went.

My once clear and perfect life map had now been torn to shreds and had markings going in every direction. I no longer had a father. But, I want you to know, I had many people take your place. My amazing mom, my grandparents, my step-dad and sister that would come years down the road, my friend's parents, the list goes on and on. You, the one that I used to long for, were simply no longer a necessity to me. You were not needed and not having you in my life made me strong, powerful, creative, careful and above all- you somehow made me happy.

See, those relationships that began to mentor me and love me grew stronger as the days went on. I gained a new found relationship with my grandparents and realized that they are my rock and my solid ground. I grew with my mother as we both adjusted to a life without you and that relationship with her only grows stronger as I grow older. I can only hope that one day I am half the woman she is and twice the parent that you have ever been to me.

 See, I think the most important thing that I have had to keep in my mind as I have grown up without you in my life is this: you, my father, the dad that I never will get to know is missing out on a great person- a young woman who is striving to become the best person she can be each and every day; a young woman who fights for everything she has ever had; a young woman who is strong and brave and courageous.

 In a funny and almost unbelievable way, you helped contribute to who I am today. You, because of your absentness in my life, made me better prepared to take on the world. You, the man that I do not know, made me realize that I am a strong woman that did not need the “daddy daughter” relationship that I longed for. I am confident, I am successful, I am intelligent, I am accomplished and most of all, I am happy all without you. I have gone this far in my life without you and I personally believe that I have overcome many hurdles and I am doing pretty well for someone my age. I am sorry that you never took to the time to see that for yourself. But, thank you because you helped to attribute to the woman I am and I thank you for that.

Sincerely,

The (strong, wonderful and amazing) daughter you don’t care to know