I had a father who didn’t choose me. I didn’t quite make the short list of important things in his life. This story isn’t a unique one, and I’ve honestly spent a total of maybe five times in my entire life dwelling over his choice to walk away, so I’m good.
What this life experience has offered me, however, is gratitude for my husband and his relationship with our daughter. In honor of that beautiful relationship, I say thank you.
Thank You for Never Letting Go
Sixteen years ago, you held her tiny body in one hand and never let go. You held on through 2 a.m. feedings when I was too exhausted to sit up straight and through swim lessons when I was too pregnant with our son for the summer heat. You held her through father/daughter dates at high-priced steak houses because our girl has expensive taste and continue to hold onto her today at 16 when it feels like time brings her closer to slipping away.
Thank You for Setting the Standard
She knows what love looks like because you’ve shown her. It’s been reflected for her in the way you give so selflessly to me every day. You show her that love is kind and sometimes messy. That love brings arguments and apologies and the commitment to never walk away. She sees the kind of husband you are and that example sets the highest of standards for her future relationships.
Thank You for Being Her Favorite
It’s true, and I’m not even a little jealous. She gets to have the relationship with you I never got to have with my own father, and I cherish watching it unfold. She gets to remember the time you taught her how to drive and the nights you spent helping her with her homework. She even gets to remember the times you argued because the mind of a 16-year-old girls baffles you. She may not appreciate those moments now, but one day, she’ll be grateful you challenged her to be the best version of herself she can be.
Thank You for Challenging Me to Do Better
Some days I fall short. I don’t always make the right or best parenting decisions, but I feel less pressure knowing you are there to pick up where I fall short. Thank you for challenging me to challenge them. For holding me accountable when I don’t follow through and for praising me when I manage to crush this whole parenting gig. They say it takes a village, but if I had no one else in my village but you, I’d feel confident we would get it mostly right.
Finally, thank you for encouraging her to be a strong, independent woman. For never forcing her to conform to who people think she should be or putting her in that “just a girl” box. She’s the person she is today because you’ve given her the confidence to flourish along with the knowledge that you’re right there to catch her when she stumbles.