To My Father

Dear “Dad,”

(I’m not even sure you deserve that title, but for the sake of this letter, this is how I will refer to you.)

It’s been six years this month since I last attempted to contact you. Six years since I reached out to you in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, you would try to make amends for the last two decades. Six years have passed and I still hold out a little bit of hope that one day, I’m going to log into Facebook and see a message from you admitting all your wrongs and how you want to make things right with me. Six years have passed since I sent you the last message, almost ten years have passed since I last spoke to you over the phone, and eighteen years have passed since you ignored me crying out to you in your brother’s backyard as you coldly walked away from me.

For twenty-three years now, I have been waiting for you to come around. I don’t know why; it’s not as though you’ve ever given any indication that you would magically decide that you’d want to be my father. I know I should be over it, and sometimes I think I am, until I’m suddenly slapped in the face with old feelings and my secret desire to have a father around comes rushing back to me. I guess it’s just really hard to accept that out of the four children you have, I’m the one who got screwed over. It’s not easy knowing that you’ve acknowledged your firstborn son, and that you’re raising a younger son and daughter with your wife, but you can’t bring yourself to acknowledge that you fathered another daughter all those years ago.

While I do have these feelings of being unwanted, I want to make something very clear: I don’t need you. I used to think I did, but I never really have needed you in my life, and I won’t need you in years to come.

It does, however, make me sad to know that you’ve missed out on everything in my life. My first day of school, my first crush, the day I became a Girl Scout, the first time I made the honor roll, the time I got second place in my class’ spelling bee (which taught me never forget how to spell the word “unbelievable”), the day I received a book in which a poem of mine had been published, my first homecoming dance, my first boyfriend, both my proms, my high school graduation, my first heartbreak, meeting the love of my life, my college graduation, and the birth of your granddaughter. You’ve missed out on all of it, moments that you will never be able to see again.

I think that what kills me the most is that my daughter – your granddaughter – will be one year old in just a few weeks, and you’ve never seen her face or heard her laugh or learned a single thing about her. You don’t know what an amazing little girl she is, and she will never get to know the kind of person her grandfather is either. Then again, it’s not like I know anything about you either, other than the things I’ve learned or heard about from other people.

Still, without you, she and I are doing just fine. She has amazing family on both sides; she has a grandfather and a great-grandfather (your own dad) who absolutely adore her. She has great-grandparents and grandparents and great-aunts and great-uncles and aunts and cousins who have all fallen in love with her from birth and I could not have asked for better people to be in her life. Unfortunately, you will likely never get to know what kind of person she’s blossoming into – for that matter, you’ll probably never know me – and it does make me a little bit sad for her. I don’t know how I’m going to explain to her one day why my own father wasn’t around to see her grow up, but I suppose I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

For what it’s worth, it’s never too late. I don’t plan on waiting around for you or reaching out to you again in the hopes that you’ll decide to come around, but the ball is in your court. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that a sincere “I’m sorry” would go a long way with me. Maybe one day, we can have a proper, face-to-face conversation and start to get to know each other – or maybe life will just continue on the way it has for the last twenty-three years. It would be nice to clear the air, but I can honestly say that I think I’m doing just fine without you.

Your Daughter

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