We have a running joke that's not entirely a joke, but one that makes me giggle like I'm still a 4 year old child.
I am not your favorite child.
And though those words may be true, I have never once felt that your entire love did not cover me wherever my feet carry me.
We have a relationship that is far more complex than any other relationship I've experienced. I often wonder if other daughters feel that way about their fathers--are father-daughter relationships just more complex than mother-daughter? While I may never have the answer, I am more than elated knowing that there was no mistake when ours was written. If I had to guess, though, I'd say that daughters' relationships with their fathers are multilayered. After all, that relationship is said to be the one that concretes the love a woman will accept later on; fathers are the first man they experience it from.
Admittedly, I am having a difficult time forming all my thoughts around this day. How does one sum up nearly 24 years of memories and lessons into a single post for a single day? Much like I lack understanding in why we celebrate mothers once a year, I lack understanding in why we celebrate you once a year, too. It often feels like fathers are neglected when we think of who raises and comforts a child. We give so much glory to mothers for their part in raising children, often subconsciously believing that it is their sole job to do so. But, the reality is that fathers...you...are crucial and necessary for not just the development of your children, but for the continuous example of strength and resilience.
Society has a warped view of what a strong man looks like. They paint a man who lacks emotions and understanding of others. One who's sole job is to provide for his family and shower them in gifts that will expire over time. If I could go back in time and challenge the view, I would because when I think of a strong man, I think of you. You provide for your family, but you also provide for those who are not your own blood. You are patient in understanding the complexities of human emotion; you even take the time to share your own. You not only hear, but you listen before responding. You find solutions through hardships. I don't believe you are perfect, but I think that the imperfections you wear so boldly just make you more human being...they make you real.
Often times, we think of our parents as superheroes. I'm guilty of still believing you can fix any and all things I bring to you. Whether it's an object or a problem, I know I look for your voice to guide me through it. Truth be told, a cape couldn't make you any more superhero than you already are. You are unapologetically you. You don't always get it right, but you make do with what you have. You are a voice for the underdogs. You fill and encourage others even when your cup is nearly empty. The reality is that the writers of superhero movies, though impressive in their imaginations, need to plant their feet in this universe and acknowledge the men who are actual heroes.
I want to thank you for always showing up. For being present through moments that weren't always pretty. For reminding me of my worth. I want to thank you for fighting on the forefront when I was too weak. For walking so that I could later run. For planting the seeds within me that will continue to bloom into gardens.
I want to thank you for loving me.
Because you love me so fearlessly, so unashamed...
that I have learned to love myself fully.
I would relive my entire life, as is, if it always meant that I had this relationship with you. I may not be a daddy's girl, but I will always be your girl, daddy. I will always look for your eyes first in a crowded room. I will always find peace in knowing you are there to protect me. I will always be proud to call you my dad. Whether I'm 4, 24, or 44, I will never stop seeing you the way I do now.
You are the best example of a strong man; I hope my daughter will see her father the way that I see you.
Happy Father's Day.
May your day be ever filled with love, light, and of course, an abundance of chicken tenders💜🌻✨