I want to first off state how weird it is for me to write you this letter. As a man in his late 20s, I didn’t think I would still have to be dealing with “daddy issues.” But unfortunately, here I am. I figured if I wrote you this letter to get it all out, it would somehow be therapeutic for me. That I would get all my feelings out, and tell you all the things I’ve wanted to say, but never had the courage to say it. Oh and look, I don’t even expect a response from you. So no need for you to bother. Welp, here goes nothing.
Dad, what exactly kept you away from being there while I was growing up? Digging deep in my memory, I can recall seeing you maybe a total of 5 or 6 times. And heck, I being generous with that number. You know how it use to make me feel to know that out of my 27 plus years of existence, I was only worth maybe 8 hours of your time? I used to basically think I was your unwanted burden that you couldn’t bother to see; despite the fact, that for 3 years we lived in the same state, and most of my life I spent in a neighboring state just 5 hours away. However, I eventually grew older and grew wiser. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’m no one’s burden and am quite frankly a damn joy to be around. The reasoning behind why you weren’t a constant in my life became less important. Until.
I’ve known nearly all my life that you are married and have kids with your wife. In fact, one is nearly my age, but that’s another issue. Yet, when I finally took it upon myself to research my “siblings,” the pain of you being an absentee father once again stung. Thanks to the ever invasive Facebook, I was able to see the pictures of you embracing your other kids. And your other kids appearing to have great relationships with you. It became clear to me right then that you didn’t have a problem being a father, you just had a problem being a father to me. You’re first born. That was a blow to my ego. It would be a blow to most people’s ego. I’m managing to get past it though. Still have a few kinks to work out, but it’s happening.
And to your credit, you helped financially support me for 18 years. That’s more than a lot of absentee fathers can say. So thank you. But I was recently watching Iyanla Vanzant on OWN and she made a very good point about fathers taking a solely financial role in their children’s lives. She said, “Have you ever been kissed by a dollar bill? Have you ever played basketball with a check?” Hind sight, you should have been there to teach me how to shoot my first basket. You should have been the one that taught me about shaving. It was your job to show me how to be a great dad one day. Thankfully, I had an amazing grandpa in the picture who took up some of your slack and often treated me as if I was his own. The things I couldn’t learn about being a man from you, I learned from him.
Perhaps the craziest thing about writing this letter, is you and I have had a conversation about some of this a few years ago on the phone. I offered forgiveness and a clean slate in trying to build some kind of relationship outside the realm of court appointed child support. You told me you were all for it, and yet I still haven’t seen you. Plus, we’ve talked maybe twice via text message, and that was because I initiated the conversation. Because I’m not dumb, I’ll take the hint and resume our distant father-son dynamic. I won’t expect you or us to be anything more than what history has showed me. But please know, that I still forgive you. God doesn’t want me carrying around the burden of anger and resentment, and I don’t to. I wish you nothing but the best. Oh, and continue to be the parent to your other kids that you never could or would be to me. And send my mom a thank you card, because as a single mother, no one did it better.