Note: This post is different than my usual posts. It won't be funny, won't mention Africa, and certainly does NOT include a recipe for cake batter dip. If you're only here for one of those reasons, come back tomorrow. However, albeit out of my blogging norm, I felt like this needed to be said. And maybe you're the one who needs to hear it.
If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know that the girls and I spent the past week visiting my best friend and her kiddos. My best friend just happens to live very near to the beach.
And while I love almost everything about the beach, the way your skin feels sticky on the ride home, the seagulls and all of their obnoxiousness, and the way the sand sticks to your body and finds its way into your shoes and every crevice of your car, there is one thing that I simply don't love.
You see, the beach will always and forever remind me of my dad.
(Let it be said, that in this post, I'm talking about my biological dad, not my stepfather whom I usually am referring to when I say that word.)
Thinking about him used to hurt.
To put it mildly, he wasn't everything America has led us to believe that a father should be.
In fact, he was very few of those things.
I think I can count on one hand the good memories I have of him, and I'm pretty sure a few of those aren't really my memories at all, but are instead bit of pieces that someone told me somewhere along the way. I'm just as sure that I never really knew him and that I'll never have the chance, seeing as how he died the summer after Hollyn was born.
At that point, we hadn't spoken in over seventeen years.
And Father's Day used to find me wallowing in a giant pit of self pity and stuffing my face with M&M's...and peanut butter...and probably the majority of a bag of mint Oreo's. For years it was a hard day, a day filled with disappointments, heartaches, and should have been's. But then again, an attempt to watch 'Father of the Bride', or a trip to the park to witness a dad pushing his little girl on the swing, or a father daughter dance at a wedding has always had the same effect.
Not having a dad is hard.
Having a dad who fails you may be even harder.
Maybe your dad disappointed you too.
Maybe he died, unexpectedly or after years of battling disease or illness.
Maybe he's still alive but your relationship is not.
Whatever the reason may be, if you don't have a dad on Father's Day, or any day for that matter, I'm sorry.
Every girl deserves a dad.
And not just a dad but a good dad....
the kind of dad who will take care of you and comfort you and listen to you and love you in spite of all of your imperfections.
But, unfortunately, not every girl has that.
And, while I still have my moments where it hurts, I want to tell you something that I wish someone had told me long, long ago.
Are you ready, precious one?
Your father's actions or lack of action or words or lack of words, they don't define you.
I am so much more than my dad's shortcomings in the fatherhood department.
I am worth more than all of his bad decisions, all the words he left unspoken, and all the ways he failed.
And just because he never loved me the way I think a father should doesn't mean that someone else can't.
I am so much more than a girl living without the all-American dad.
And you are too.
Parents mess up.
They make mistakes.
They don't always get it right.
But we aren't our parents.
And all though my Earthly father never lived up to my expectations,
my Heavenly father--He loves the heck of me.
Please hear me when I say that I'm not looking for sympathy.
These hurts of mine have long since healed.
But there was a time when I felt alone.
They all had dads.
I didn't think they'd understand or relate.
And I can't help but think there's someone else out there who doesn't exactly look forward to Father's Day and who is intentionally avoiding Facebook and Instagram today for fear of possibly drowning in all of the Father's Days posts. After all, my wounds may have healed, but it will do me no good whatsoever to try to pry them back open.
At this point in life, at the ripe old age of thirty-four, I'm happy.
I'm so grateful for all of my friends who have dads who love them unconditionally.
I'm grateful for my husband who is teaching my girls what it means to have a real father.
And I'm grateful for all of the people in my life who have loved me the way my biological dad never could.
And maybe I did get my sense of humor, my artistic ability, and my nose from him.
But my heart?
That's all Mom.
And I just wanted to say thank you to my dear friend and role model, Wynne Elder, for encouraging me to be brave and bold and to speak the truth. The truth is important, and some things simply need to be said.