It’s been seven years since I last saw you or heard from you. I don’t even remember the last time I saw you. I know it was a couple of days before the end of the seventh grade. Mid-June, around one of these days. I never had an urge to write anything to you considering my mixed feelings about you. But Father’s Day is this Sunday and it’s a holiday that makes me think of you for most of the day.
Let me start off by saying that it’s not because I am “fatherlesss”. My stepdad really stepped up when you couldn’t/didn’t. Despite the complicated relationship I have with him because of how it was all introduced to my life, I have to give credit where credit is due. No, I don’t call him my dad or think of him as MY father. But he is a very present and very caring father- figure in my life. I refer to him as my dad whenever I am speaking to other people. He is one part of the duo that is my parents, and he’s come to own the thanks I give for Father’s Day.
But Father’s day makes me think of you because I am reminded that you are my biological father and you are not here, nor deserve any of my gratitude. I am reminded that seven years ago, you left me at thirteen years old, willingly or not. That you were too selfish to think of me as you made decisions that had a great impact on the person that you became and the outcome of your life. I am reminded that you weren’t present for any of the milestones in my life. My quinceanera, getting my license, graduating high school, going to college, bringing home my first serious boyfriend, getting my first job- you were there for none of it.
I am reminded of how different my life would have been had you been there. Would you have stormed my middle school when you found out I was being bullied in the eighth grade? Would you have kept me from hanging out with the wrong crowd? Would you have tried to intimidate my boyfriend like the protective dad you were? Would you have driven me to prom? Would you have taken me out to celebrate any of my accomplishments? Would we have father-daughter nights after work? Would I have learned anything about soccer from all the times you would have made me watch games with you? Not being confined to the weekend agreement you had with my mom anymore, would I have seen you more often throughout the week? On Holidays?
Along with all of this, I am also constantly reminded that you are my father and I have a large amount of unresolved issues towards you. My mixed feelings confuse me on a daily basis. I miss you but I shouldn’t. I want to see you but I don’t. I want to know about how life has been for you, but if it was bad, you kind of deserve it. I want to talk to you but I don’t think I have anything nice to say to you. My grandma always tells me that yes, you messed up, but you are my father and I have to forgive and let go of all the anger and hurt I am holding on to. I want to, but then I feel like I am betraying myself.
You didn’t have access to contact me in the first few years, and I had no idea where you were. It was easier then to ignore the fact that you are getting older and that doctors wanted to do extra tests to check your health because of problems with your lungs and liver due to your drinking and smoking.I didn’t have any desire to figure out where you were. You were off in some unknown land in some unknown location and your health was unknown and unwanted to me. It didn’t cross my mind all that much.
But your birthday is exactly six days after mine. I know you are turning fifty or so this year. To top it off, I recently found out that you are in a state that is only a ten hour drive away from where I live. All I have to do is ask my mom for the address and I have more access to you than I have in over 2,555 days. I haven’t asked her for it.
If I see you, if I write to you, I don’t know what that would lead to. I don’t need you to play the role of my father. That place has been filled by not only my stepdad, but my grandpa who filled the job even when you were here. I don’t need you to teach me anything. I don’t need you to show me how to be responsible. I don’t need to make any new memories. I don’t even know if I want to ask why you did what you did that made you leave. I have so much to say but no words to say it with.
I guess this letter to you is all I could come up with at the moment- to tell you that I do think of you often. That I still hold on to my last name dearly despite it being yours. It is the only part of you that I want to keep. That even if you aren’t a dad who deserves it, I still wish you a Happy Father’ Day.
Maybe this will be the first letter I send to you? Maybe I’ll rewrite this and never send it at all? I know I need some kind of closure. I can’t handle that right now, though. For now, this is enough.