Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Dear Dad-
I owe a lot to you, and missing your birthday isn’t a great place to start. You gave me so many dear gifts, I can’t begin to explain them to you. What breaks my heart is that somewhere I feel like you feel like you failed with me. I’m the only kid without a degree, true. I haven’t been consistently active with church since I was eighteen. I’m no virtuous mothering example, and say words like “crap” really often. :)
Dad, you have always held a very high standard for us. For the longest time, I resented it and felt like it would never be something that I could attain. Time changes people. At this stage of the game, I have sincerely given up trying to be what I think you think I should be, and it has been liberating. …Not because I don’t care, but because I see what you wanted for me was different all along. The standard you held me to and expected of me was only for my benefit -not for my comparison against 5 brilliant other children, and not for what translated into a degraded self-esteem for years. It really was because you knew what I was capable of -and there’s something so beautiful about that to me.
Dad, I want you to know that I haven’t given up “meeting” that standard, but I will tell you , it will be for ME that I get there… And when I do, I know that what will make me feel like I accomplished it, is what you truly want for me.
I do celebrate you Dad. You’re an absolutely fascinating and complicated and strong and good person. I am grateful for your flaws. I am grateful for your immeasurable strength. Happy birthday, and please know that I love you beyond what words can express.

Your daughter,



mommynolan said...

How sweet and sincere. ILY, MOM

Mary said...

That's so sweet. Isn't it funny how our parents didn't know anything when we were teenagers, and now they know a LOT more than we gave them credit for? ;o)

Anonymous said...

Wow, you put that so beautifully. Father/daughter relationships can be complicated. He sounds wonderful.