We’ve been through a lot together in this life I’ve lived. It’s only been a few years for you as you’ve lived a Wild West lifetime without me, but I’ve had you for all of mine. For a long time, I rejected the fact that you had any impact on me because I didn’t want you to. I had a negative, angry mindset when it came to you, and it has taken a lot to get over that, but I have.
About six years ago, I sent you a letter in the mail, kind of like this, but that one gives me deep pains in my chest to even think about. I’ve given it so much thought, I even once considered it the only thing I would ever regret in my life. But I’ve realized that I can’t have regrets about anything. Everything happens because I made it that way. I might have made a different decision at a different time in my life, but that decision was made at that particular time when I was a different person. So I won’t regret that angry letter that broke both of our hearts, relationship, and trust, but I will apologize for it.
I’m so sorry, Dad.
This letter is long overdue, but I’m writing it now, and I’d like to think that matters. You mean so much to me. Everything we’ve experienced together has fashioned me into the person I am now. I like her. She is a person who deserves a good life, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to become. You have had such a big impact on me, and I’m more than happy to admit that now.
We had a rough childhood, Rissa and I, but neither of us would trade it for another. We dealt with a lot at a young age, but that’s how I like it. We learned resilience so quickly– cared for each other and learned how to love and support one another in everything we do.
I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know, and that’s partially my fault. I haven’t given you the assurance a father like you deserves. There are so few dads I know like you, so inherently loving to his children. You saw us every chance you could– drove hours and hours to see us for two days every few weeks. You left your depression behind for a few hours to take us to the park. You created family traditions. You pushed women away because you wanted your little girls to know that a family of just us three was full enough for you. You opened up to us about your childhood and made us laugh with your fight stories. You traded meals with us when our picky child selves didn’t like what we’d ordered. You protected us when our hearts got broken and comforted us when there was nothing you could do otherwise.
I love our car conversations back when I couldn’t drive my own car and our big Mansfield sandwiches when we only had the one bed on the floor. I love our emotional Olive Garden dinner the night of the missed concert. I love our family’s inside jokes, and I love that you finally let someone else in.
I love our new family and the little world we’ve created for ourselves.
But most of all, Dad, I love you.
Thank you for every single thing you’ve taught me. I’m old enough and mature enough to recognize them now.