A Father's Love
Daddy, Thank you.
Thank you for teaching me my worth. Thank you for treating me, my big sister, and Mom like we were deserving. We were equal to everyone else. Thank you for teaching me that the love of a man could be unconditional. That no matter what I did or did not do, or how I looked or what I thought, that I was enough. That I was complete on my own, that I was whole and lacking nothing. That I was perfect just as I was and had nothing to prove or make up for, but that just for being me I was lovable. Thank you for taking the time to care for me, to encourage me, to challenge me, to see better in me than I saw in myself and then take the time it took to get me to see it too.
Dad, thank you for instilling in me that I do not need a man. Thank fucking God you did. Where would I be if I believed that on my own I was not enough, I was not going to be ok? I would be in big trouble right now, navigating the death of my fiance, if I did not believe I could be on my own…
You taught me what love is. Love not dependence, and I am seeing that this is so often confused. You encouraged an independence in me that has served me well. If I can take care of myself on my own I am free to choose love, true love. Not out of a need for someone to fill a void or take care of me, but to be my partner.
I am whole. I am complete, and you were the first to show me that.
Dad, that offers me a level of freedom I never knew I was so grateful for, until I started to look around and see how troubled some people are. How is it that I am living this tragic loss of my beloved and still feel more able to deal with my life than many? How is it that even right now I still feel more able to choose who I let in to my life than many of my girl friends ever do?
You, I credit you, and Mom of course, but I can’t help but feel that your consistent love for me has left no gaps for me to try to fill, so I am much more free to live by choice. To love by choice.
Daddy, thank you for braiding my hair every night when I was little. For going to every soccer game, for encouraging me to public speak, for challenging my perspectives and all the heated discussions where you would take the other side just to get me to argue. Thank you for showing me I am smart, that my opinion is valuable, that I can handle whatever comes my way. You showed me I was worthy each time you took me with you even if just to the store. Thank you for the days you let me skip school to come to work with you. I learnt more on those days than I ever could have in class. I learnt what it looks like to care for someone. To love them and to show that by wanting them around. Thank you for all the trips, and the world you showed me, but mostly thank you for modeling to me that love is not money, that love cannot be bought, is not equated to stuff, and that time is the greatest expression of care. Thank you for everything I can't even remember but that is imprinted on my soul and the foundation of who I am.
Thank you for taking care of our family but also expecting us to take care of ourselves and one another. For knowing that I would grow into a woman that took care of herself. There was never a thought in me that I needed someone to look after me, I got that from you. Could you imagine if I didn’t believe in my ability to handle my own life, especially right now, how problematic that would be?
I was able to love my man and still love myself, to share a life but still maintain my own. I was able to choose a man that treated me like an equal. I am not afraid of being alone and in that I will never settle for someone that is tragic, that will treat me any less than you would. Thankfully you set the bar high.
Dad, thank you. For all you did for me, I hope I have shown my gratitude. But if I forgot along the way, if I took you for granted, which I am sure I did, I want you to know I am grateful for you. You Tola are a rad Dad, and I am a lucky girl.
As I navigate the loss of the other main man in my life, I credit my ability to really do this to you. I trust I will be alright because you taught me I never needed a man for me to be whole. So, I lost a great love, I lost a huge part of my life, but I know I am still complete.
Thank you Dad.
I love you.