The “Thank You” I Never Gave My Father

Plain and simple, my father is a blue collar man who believed most things could be fixed with a little duct tape, a touch of WD-40, and a quick prayer to the Lord. However, although these altogether can be deemed perhaps the simplest of remedies, my dad is the most complex man I have ever met.

My dad was the reason I, at a very young age, was oddly familiar with the different variety of beers, cigars, and the monthly issues of Consumer Reports. I knew not very much of pointless fairytales and how Peter Pan survived in Neverland, but I was the child that could tell you which microwave would give you the best price for your dollar and why you should go solar!

However, like most childhoods, there were times where I felt my dad went from being my super hero to an evil villain, out to rob me of my potential new pets, capri suns, and teddy grahams that clearly didn’t suffice as a bed time snack. As I got older, I began to view things in a new perspective in which my dad wasn’t a villain at all. My father endured his fair share of demons, but, being the child that I was, I had classified his actions inexcusable, merely acting on my own selfish impulse. I searched reasons to hate the man that was responsible for half my DNA– my life. I was only hating a part of myself.

As I’ve grown older and approach the beyond wise age of 22 (sarcasm intended), I think back to the childhood that I had previously negated and often spoke negatively of. I had, for years, continued to cling to only the hateful memories and blame my father for everything I lacked. “Well, maybe if my dad would have loved me, I would’t be this way.” It’s time I debunk my former theory of a neglected childhood by thanking my father for the things he did right while raising this rambunctious chatter box.

Dad, thank you for sneaking me gummy bears every night while mom naively believed that you were telling your twins to “quiet down” before  bed. Thank you for taking me on backyard adventures for snakes and spiders in which you forced me to wear three layers of socks, two pairs of pants, and your construction boots because you knew if this nature girl saw a snake that she would be dumb enough to call it a friend and try to claim it as her new roommate. Thank you for the nights in which you came home weary after an incredibly rough day at work, mustering up the strength and ignoring your heavy eyelids so I could tell you all about my exaggerated day at school and argue why I felt I deserved a pet pony but would settle for a goat.  Thank you for helping me fix my broken heart from all the boys that were too rough with it, from telling me that they were simply “dumb asses” or taking my sobbing, devastated self to breakfast while listening to me pour my heart out about boys you didn’t know or boys you were ready to shoot. Thank you for searching high and low for a left-handed baseball glove because I was the reject child given the unaccommodating title of the Kash Family’s only southpaw, allowing me to experience the invigorating feeling of slamming a Babe Ruth inspired home run from the yard or a nasty tennis ball straight to the eye; leading me to my next thank you for mandating that your girls play with light weight tennis balls to eliminate any broken bones, black eyes, and speculations of abuse. Thank you for believing in me when I could’t find the strength to believe in myself. Dad, thank you for never giving up on this train wreck even when giving up seemed to be the best, and clearly the easiest, option in life.

Finally, thank you for SHOWING me how I should be treated, and for making sure I practiced my repetitive martial arts techniques every weekend to fight off the boys that disobeyed the “Rules For Dating My Daughter” memo.

I am a better daughter, sister, and woman because of the lessons you’ve taught, kindness you showed, and ass kicking you administered.

Thank you, Dad.

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