A Letter To My Dad On Father’s Day

| June 15, 2013 | 3 Comments


Dear Dad,

I know we’ve never really been close. As a child, you were a somewhat intimidating figure. As a rebellious teenager, I found your strict rules and overprotective nature unbearable. According to you, life was not a picnic and the solution to most problems was hard work. For many years, I held a grudge and grieved for the tv dad I never had.

But as I grew older, I came to realize just how little I knew about you. I began to catch glimpses of another man under that your crusty exterior. I know you had a difficult life before I came into the world. You grew up poor in a tiny Portuguese fishing village under a repressive government. You spent years fighting someone else’s brutal war in the jungles of Africa. You and Mom made the difficult decision to immigrate to Canada in search of a better life for your future family. You arrived penniless and unable to speak the language. I remember the long hours you worked on construction sites, leaving the house before the sun rose and returning just before we went to bed. Your four children spoke fluent English, broken Portuguese, and weren’t too interested in the traditions of your fondly remembered home country.

As you know, 8 years ago I became a parent myself. And I quickly realized how hard it is…and how much I love my children, unconditionally…and how sometimes my own issues get in the way of being the parent I want to be.

I no longer hold a grudge, Dad. I have since realized the folly of holding you to a standard created by Hallmark. There is no one set of characteristics that make up the ideal dad, just as there are so many ways to be an amazing mom.

I’m glad life is a little less stressful for you these days. You seem to be enjoying your retirement, spending more time working on your farm. You no longer have a family of 6 to feed and 4 kids to educate. These days I see another side of you, one that brings tears to my eyes. I see you playing (playing!) with my kids, taking them for tractor rides, and slipping quarters and jelly beans into their pockets.

So…happy Father’s Day, Dad. I’m sorry I never got to ride on your shoulders and I’m sorry your gruff words were often misinterpreted. But I wanted to tell you that I saw the tear in your eye when you walked out of my dorm room that first day of university. I remember that squeeze of my hand as you left me at the altar on my wedding day. And I see you carrying my daughter around on your shoulders. And I love you too.

By Delta Jones. I am an avid believer in the value of unstructured play, and a generally frazzled mother of 3. Trying to convince the world to do less and play more, while still figuring it out myself.


Category: Family

Comments (3)

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  1. Christine says:

    Good girl, who can tell how long our parents will be with us. You are healing a part of you and growing up understanding that many fathers showed their love by working hard to provide for their children. My father has passed away and I still feel he is around me and what he left behind is his children. As we become parents ourselves, we understand how much it takes to bring up a child. Part of what you missed as a child will be given back to you through your child’s relationship with her grand dad, and you will be able to one day, put you hand in his thankfully. Tell him or show his your blog, you will see a smile on his face. We all undergo difficulties in our lives, love cures all.

  2. Bonnie Way says:

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing. You’re so right about Hallmark – I have given up on buying my dad Father’s Day cards because none of them fit. I’m glad you and your dad have a better relationship now. Thanks for linking up with the Write Mama blog hop this week. 🙂

  3. kathy downey says:

    Very touching letter

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