Letter To My Father
How’ve you been? Hope you’ve been doing well and in good spirits.
It’s been a while since we’ve talked. First, let me say don’t worry. This letter isn’t a plea for back child support or anything like that (although, if you’re feeling generous my address is…lol. I’m kidding…unless you’re going to do it). No, but seriously…that is not why I’m writing you this letter. This letter has a completely different purpose which you will come to understand as you read on.
I’ve had so many questions and so many things I’ve always wanted to say to you but never really had the chance. Let’s face it, we’ve only seen each other maybe four times in my entire life and really had nothing much to say to each other other than “What have you been up to?” and “How’s your mother?” Those were some pretty awkward moments weren’t they? At least they were for me. Maybe it wasn’t really lack of opportunity, but lack of nerve that kept me from saying or asking what I wanted. In either case, nothing was said.
As a kid, I often wondered where you were, how you were doing, and what you were doing. I asked a lot of questions, but got very few answers (short answers at that). My image of you was pieced together from bits and pieces of information from my mom, your mom, and other relatives. Mom told me that you were a chef. Your mom (my grandmother) and uncles said that you were very stylish and bragged that you always kept your shoes clean. From that, I pictured you cooking in some fancy restaurant and always stepping out on the town in sharp suits accented by some clean Stacey Adams. In my mind, you were the man.
As I grew older, my perceptions changed. Mainly because I was hearing more and more things about you that weren’t so favorable. I held on to the good images of you for as long as I could, but soon a new reality set in. No longer were you the Stacey Adam-wearing, five-star chef, but you had become a drunken, irresponsible loser. At least that’s how you were portrayed. I never really wanted to believe the negative and couldn’t confirm the positive. I was confused. So, I did what I felt was best for me and my sanity…I got rid of the images – both positive and negative. I figure it would be better to know you for myself instead of depending on dreams and hearsay….which brings me to the reason for this letter.
Dad, you missed out on a lot. You weren’t there for my first words. You weren’t there to teach me about girls and why I felt this overwhelming urge to pull their pigtails instead of telling them that I liked them. You weren’t there to talk me out of getting a jherry curl. You weren’t there to teach me to ride a bike. You weren’t there when my brothers died. You weren’t there to teach me how to fight. You weren’t there to tell me what to do when I woke up in the middle of the night wondering why I had was so umm…”stiff” in certain areas and couldn’t get it to go down. You weren’t there to tell me anything about sex. You weren’t there to see me graduate from high school. You weren’t there to see me graduate from college. You never heard me play the drums. And until now you’ve never read anything I’ve written. But in spite of all that…in spite of you not being there…in spite of it all, you are still my father and I love you all the same.
I don’t understand or even know the reasons why you and my mother did not stay together, but I know that there are reasons and whatever they are are between you and her. And even though I still can’t help but wonder what those reasons are, they’re really not important now because in spite of those choices…in spite of those reasons, I am here. I’m a man and like to think that I’ve turned out pretty ok. I don’t blame you for not being there and neither do I blame my mother. Relationships aren’t easy and neither is raising children. Not every one is meant to be or stay together. That’s just how it goes sometimes.
Who knows how things would’ve turned out had you been around. Things could have been better or they could have been worse. Who knows. What I do know is that I’m okay and I want you to be okay. I don’t want you to feel any guilt or shame. In fact, feel proud that Life has matured me through its various trials and situations. Be proud because through it all I am a man. I am a man because that is what God created me to be just as He created you to be.
The Bible says “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Well, I believe this to be true. The only issue is determining the way the child should go. Which way is the right way? Which way is the wrong way? Is there even a right or a wrong way? Depends on who you ask I guess. I don’t know. But I do know that all you can do is your best according to what you know. A father teaches his children according to either his words or actions and life experiences. And whether you were there or not, I have learned from you.
Maybe Life separated us so that I would not learn your ways. I was destined to have a completely different set of experiences and possibly share what little knowledge I’ve gained with you. You can only do what you can based on what you’ve learned up to the point of any given moment. That which we don’t know, we leave to God and He bridges the gap of what we don’t know to get us over that situation. This is faith.
We all grow and evolve according to the choices that we make. You’ve made your choices and I’ve made mine. And if we don’t like the results of those choices we made, then we can choose differently. Let us choose differently. Let us choose to live as father and son and as friends. It’s never too late. Remember…I love you no matter what.
Always your son,