My dad has always been the coolest, yet most mysterious person I’ve ever known. Growing up, he was my hero, my idol, my best bud. We watched our favorite shows together. He took me on a million and one bike rides. He helped me fry my first egg. He could do no wrong in my eyes. Strong, secure, funny and MY daddy. Even after our family welcomed my baby sister into the world, I never felt short changed or that my spot was taken.
Growing up with my dad, I was exposed to the best music, amazingly delicious food, and times of confusion. My dad, my hero, was secretly (unknown to me) an addict. He was so good at covering up his addiction that it would be many, many years until I found out the truth.
When I was 15, my parents separated and divorced. The moment that my dad divorced my mom, he divorced my sister and I, too. It sucked. I spent years feeling distressed, broken and damaged. There would be shared weekends and phone calls, but missed school programs, driving tests, dates and tears. My high school years were spent trying to impress a man who was too hurt and focused on dealing with his own shortcomings and demons to care.
The turning point in our relationship came by way of a “Come to Jesus” moment. I called him up and told him we needed to talk. I was now well into my 20’s, and I was sick and tired of the continual heartbreak cycle from a man who should’ve protected it. After allowing me to be open and honest with him, he came clean, too. He explained why he had been so absent during such an important time of my life. I appreciated the honesty. I told him I forgave the past hurts. I wanted our relationship to be fruitful. I wanted to have a healthy relationship with my dad, which would lead to an even healthier relationship with myself.
Our relationship came full circle with the birth of my daughter. I see myself in the relationship that Madison and my dad have. It’s beautiful to watch. I’m thankful for the rebuilding of our relationship and the chance I took on myself to forgive him.
The forgiveness was as much for myself as it was for him. It allowed me to share my hurts and my fears, and to reconcile them. It opened the door for a brand new, fluid, honest relationship with my dad.
And for that, I’m thankful.