Hi Dad. Thank you for leaving me.
Not your usual thank you, eh? But really, thank you for leaving me. Rest assured that my expression of gratitude has no trace of bitterness. Do you know why?
Because you taught me how to be strong.
My ten-year-old mind did not know what was happening between her parents – you were always the fun parent. You always made me laugh. You taught me how to play tennis and turned me into a Kournikova fan. You played cards with me. I knew we did not live in the same house; I only knew that you would visit us every-so-often. The day that I turned eleven years old, mom told me that you had to work abroad. I accepted it. You would call me once a month after your “departure” until this frequency dwindled to nothing. I didn’t get to hear your voice ever since. Six months passed, a year passed. Still no visit or whatsoever from you. I began high school, still no call. I entered my teen years just merely hoping I would get a simple Happy Birthday from you.
These never came.
I think I forgot how your voice sounded. That’s the thing about being abandoned: your mind forgets as a way of coping.
But one day, you did call.
I was in my sophomore year of high school and was emotionally unprepared to talk to you again. How dare you expect me to talk to you after all these years? I was pissed at mom for making me answer your call when I clearly didn’t want to. You didn’t deserve it. Why would you expect me to just come back to you after you clearly pushed me away? You left me at a crucial time of my life, and that really hurt me. I outright refused to speak to you and my mother told me you were hurt by what I did. I didn’t care.
Two years later, I invited you to my High School Graduation and you never replied to my text. I guessed I deserved that. Quid pro quo.
When you called me that day during sophomore year, I didn’t know what to say then. If I would be granted the chance to speak to you again, even if just through a phone call, I still wouldn’t know what to say. When I was younger, I didn’t understand our unconventional family, why didn’t live under the same roof. Now, I think I finally understand our broken family. And it’s okay with me.
With all my heart, I forgive you. I really do. Who am I to control your life? Whatever reason for you not to stay was greater than me and mom, and I accept it.
Being raised by a single parent seems normal nowadays. But let me tell you this – it is not easy.
My mother, for all her flaws, is really both my mother and father. That is why I don’t want to bother her when she is working hard to be both a good mother and father to me. I was being burdened from expectations, duties, and realities all too young.
That is why I thank you for leaving me – even if you did not watch me grow up, I still learned a lot from you.
Because you left me, I learned how to be more mature.
I learned about real life. I know now that sometimes, you get hurt because you need to learn how to be stronger.
Because you left me, I learned that people won’t stay with me forever.
I learned about rejection – sometimes, things are really not in our complete control no matter how hard we try. You are not automatically anyone’s first priority, and that’s just life.
Who knew the first man to ever break my heart was not a boyfriend, but you? But again, I am truly okay with us. Because I know that I am the only one who can fix my heart. I fixed it by accepting things that were way out of my control. I fixed it by letting go of all the hurt. I fixed it by forgiving you. As I left high school for college, I still haven’t gotten closure from our relationship. But now, two years in, I finally accept everything. I know now that you need to move on to be really free.
Thank you for leaving me, but if you come back – please know that I will be here with open arms because I am still your daughter who loves you very much.