Lessons from my father,

377644_4804996035958_1927375899_nIt is not often that I open my life and my heart. This is a deeply personal post.

Raised by a single dad, my two sisters and I have had mixed emotions about our upbringing. We have always lived completely uncensored -even as very young children, and with his addiction it made for some crazy experiences.

On the other hand, my father is one of the nicest most genuine people I have ever known. He would do anything to help anyone even when he himself has so little. I am beginning just now to appreciate how my upbringing has shaped me and the person I am today, and how hard it must have been for him. This change in heart/appreciation inspired me to write to my dad, and this letter is in response to a note from my dad…

Dad sorry this took so long but I’ve been so busy lately. Business is doing good, so I am working a lot, and the kids have me on my toes all of the time.

I got your letter, and thank you it was wonderful to see your handwriting. I’m so glad you and Deborah bought a house congratulations!! You must be so happy!

To answer what you wrote – yeah you really are fucked up person but, you are genuine and true. You stayed with us, you kept us together, and you taught us to be good honest people. You have one of the kindest hearts that I’ve ever known in my life. You taught us to do random acts of kindness, by bringing Big Bird a pepsi, or bringing a homeless guy some dinner, stopping on the side of the road to help someone or maybe just give them a ride. You have raised the three of us to be so caring and so loving, and empathetic. We are now wonderful parents and good human beings. We do good deeds because we saw you do them.

You gave us family traditions, even though our family was broken. We have smorgasbord on New Years Eve, and watch Twilight Zone Marathons. We make crazy recipes like wheat bars that have no wheat, or french onion dip, or swedish cheeseburger. We hide candy all over the house at Easter, and fight over the last piece of JELLY cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving.

You were Mr. Mom. You did the PTA ( even if it was just to pick up girls ) explained menstrual cycles to us, bought more than your fair share of maxipads and tampons. You let us cry on your shoulder when a boy didn’t like us, or when we missed our mom.
You did all of the work, all of the disciplining, cooking and homework help, while we thought she was so great, but that was really just a childhood fantasy. Everytime she didn’t show up- you were there for us.

We have lived a life full of experiences. We have had deer meat, bear meat, government meat and home made wine from under the kitchen sink. You have shown us the entire East Coast from the Niagara Falls in Canada to the sunny islands of the Florida Keys. We have rolled Joints, weathered storms, pitched tents and caught our own fish. We know the difference between a wrench and pair of pliers, how to catch a night-crawler, or watch the beauty of a meteor storm in the middle of the night.

Because of you we don’t value material possessions, we are the type of girls that would rather have a bouquet of wildflowers then a diamond ring. Because of you we value life and we know how to truly live it, and how to have a good time. We understand what is most important and how to get by with nothing. We know how to deal with real life problems, how to suck it up, put on our big girl panties, and move on. We know how to survive. Thank you. I love the person I am and the person I am is because of the person who raised me.
I love you.
Shanna

Writing this letter to my father is one of the most therapeutic things I have done in my adult life. I want to share it because I now finally appreciate how beautiful and full of experience my life has been.

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