Today is Father’s Day, a day we recognize the most influential man in our lives. To all the fathers out there Happy Father’s Day and thank you for all that you do. What makes Dads great is they provide for you and protect you from an early age. I’ve been blessed to have two men fill this role in my life.
Like Mother’s Day I didn’t know what to do as a gift for you guys. I’m not a great giver of gifts. I figured in keeping with trend I set on Mother’s Day the best thing I could do was express my gratitude and thanks for helping me find my path in this world through my writing. This post is an open letter to my Dad and Stepdad recognizing them for all that they have done. So without further ado…
To my Dad
To my Dad, the only one I’ve got, more than anything I want you to know that I love you. All I’ve ever wanted was to make you proud. Our relationship hasn’t always been an easy one, and for that I’m to blame. Growing up I idolized you, which resulted in me wasting time wanting you to be something you’re not. It’s because of this that I didn’t take the time to appreciate everything you are. And you are a damn good man.
I look back fondly now on memories of the days we would go fishing at the park when I was young. Remembering all the movies you’d take us to see in the theatre and how you taught me to pray the Lord’s Prayer while laying in bed. Reminiscing on the Dice Road house you allowed to be the hub for my friends. All of these memories put a smile on my face. As do the memories of all the amazing vacations you took us on.
A man of few words, you always made it clear through your actions how much you cared. Through all the boneheaded decisions I’ve made, you were there. When I was living in Detroit and having car trouble, you were there. When I overdosed in 2014, you were by my side until I regained consciousness. I’ve heard the most important part of being a parent is showing up, and you’ve always been there to show up for me.
Thank you for always being by my side and loving me when it wasn’t easy. Thank you for being my rock, and providing your support, when I felt like I couldn’t go on. Lastly, thank you for being the dad that I needed even when it wasn’t exactly what I thought I wanted.
To my Stepdad
I remember the first time we met, to this day it makes me laugh, I said your apartment complex smelled like arm. From that moment till the present day you’ve made me feel like I was your son. You’ve provided for my mom and us boys as though we were your own. You couldn’t have been more open and accommodating to my brother or me and I couldn’t have asked for a better man to marry my mom.
Reminiscing over the memories of you reading The Hobbit to me at our house on Stone Street, and all of the instances you took the time to teach me to draw or play action figures with me, warms my heart. As do the memories of the time you meticulously applied my face paint so I could go as Sting for Halloween, and the weekend you spent with my Boy Scout troop in Gettysburg.
It’s interesting that I feel as though our relationship has grown most during the years I felt farthest from the rest of the family. For example in college you always made the time to read my term papers and gladly offered your feedback. You were the only one who took an interest in my collegiate pursuits and I hope you know that it meant the world to me. I’ve always seen you as a mentor in my spiritual growth, and I want you to know how much I appreciate your time and engagement.
Thank you for driving me to all my early game practices and carting me around in general when my moms migraines acted up. Thank you for being the voice of reason in my life when everything else felt like insanity. However, more than anything, thank you for being the father you never had to be.
There’s too much to say regarding my gratitude and appreciation for you two to adequately fit in one post. Furthermore, there’s too much I’d have to say sorry for if I included apologies. I hope you know I am sorry for all the pain and tears I’ve caused. Simply put, I know I’ve made it difficult at times; but having you guys in my corner has given me strength. There’s nothing I could be offered that’d make me give either of you up in the world. I realize now I’ve been shown exactly what I needed, and the problem was that I haven’t always listened.
We encountered the ups and downs no doubt present in any paternal relationship, however ours were amplified by my well documented demons. The hard times, and there were plenty, made us stronger. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the support of having the two of you in my life. I hope you guys know how thankful I am for all the rides to my hockey and basketball practices, the endless amount of second chances, the fridges full of food growing up, and for never turning your backs on me completely no matter how bad I failed.
More than anything I hope you two know this. All of your sacrifices and the incredible memories we’ve made mean everything to me today. Both of you were there for me at every sports game, through my divorce, and all the other moments of tribulation in my life. I’m grateful each day that I have the privilege to call you both dad. Happy Father’s Day to the best two Dads I could have ever asked for.
Happy Father’s Day with all of my Heart,