Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Letter from my Dad


Today is Father’s Day and, in honor and memory of my Dad, I decided to publish a letter he wrote to me when I was fifteen years old. I’d been invited to a Halloween party and I desperately wanted to go. After all, all of my friends were going. But Dad said “No. You can’t go.” I was so angry with him (that happened a lot during my teenage years) because I felt he was being unfair; he was too strict. 
 Truth is, he was strict with me but I always knew he loved me. The values and qualities he instilled in me have served me well throughout my life and I thank him. I’ve cherished this letter all these years. Here’s what he wrote:
October 31, 1965
Dearest Pat,
            Please forgive me for being a stick in the mud father but that is the way it is when you think a lot of someone. It is very easy to be casual with someone when you’re not interested too much in them, but then I am interested, perhaps too much. You are my first child, you being a teenager. I never had to deal with any before; it is like learning a new profession.
            Your brother and sisters are lucky because, as they reach your age, you will have already taught me, perhaps the hard way, how to be the father of a grown up lady. Pat, you have a hard job ahead of you with an inexperienced father of a teenager. I do not have the experience but have the desire of which sometimes it is too much and does more harm than good.
            Please forgive me of my shortcomings as it is ignorance and not intentional. It is easy to say “Yes, go ahead” but hard to say “No, you can not go.” This is something you will have to learn for yourself with your own family and I hope you do a better job than I. I love you very much and would never intentionally harm you.
            Please keep this letter as someday you may have to copy it for your child. I hope this never happens. I hope you have understanding of which I seem to have very little. I always wished my parents would have had more and I thought I would have a lot with my children but did not. Please have more with your children.
Your Father
            I miss you, Dad. Happy Father’s Day!

18 comments:

  1. Hi Patricia,
    lovely letter. wish my dad had written me a letter like that. this is a day to remember our fathers, what they were like as fathers, what they tried to be and do.
    thanks for this,
    sandy

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    1. Sandy,
      Thank you! My Dad was a wonderful man. I lost him a year ago this past May and I miss him more than words can say.

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  2. ps have been trying to subscribe to the blog via atom -- won't work. can you help?
    thanks,
    sandy

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    1. I'll check into this, Sandy, and send you an email.

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  3. A very wise man indeed. Thank you for letting us all know.

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    1. Thanks, Jake. Yes, he was. He taught me a lot.

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  4. Although my father didn't write me a letter, your father's letter reminds me of him. Very touching, and thank you so much for sharing.

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    1. Marja,
      I've been hearing commercials all week for Father's Day. What to buy him, what to do for him, what to say to him.
      I can't buy him anything but this post is my way of doing something for him and saying something to him.

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  5. great letter--glad u kept it and shared it. following you and would apprceciate followback at http://colormeactive.blogspot.com

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    1. Rhonda,
      Thanks for joining my site. It's always nice to have a new follower. I'm curious as to where you found my writers forum. I'll check out your blog.

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  6. That letter was SO sweet that it brought me to tears. I have no letters from my Dad or my Mom, but frequently heard a similar theme, "We do this because we love you. Parents who don't care just let their children run wild." How often I wished my parents cared about me just a little bit less!

    And there's that thing about being firstborn, too. Oh, yes. We grow up to be hyper-responsible (and writers?).

    Thank you for sharing. Father's Day is always bittersweet for me. I lost my Dad sixteen years ago. I cannot believe it has been that long. I thought about a Father's Day post but knew it would be too depressing. Yours is wonderful!

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    1. Marta,
      Thank you!
      There is that thing about being firstborn, isn't there? We do grow up to be hyper-responsible. Good or bad, who knows? Probably a little bit of both. As to growing up to be writers. Well, you and I did!

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  7. What a great letter, Patricia. I'm so glad you kept it all these years. It's so inspiring.

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    1. Thanks, Eileen. That letter is one of my most prized possessions. If there's ever an emergency - tornado, fire - I'll grab the metal box I keep it in first. Then, the CD with my novels on it!

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  8. Oooh, what a sweet letter and so precious a memory. Sometimes we forget to tell our children we love them after we've had to discipline them.

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    1. Catherine,
      So true! Kids need to get the message that, maybe what they DID was bad, but they aren't.

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  9. My wonderful dad died 34 years ago and I still miss him terribly. He was soft-spoken and good to everyone. Precious memories, indeed.

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    1. Thanks, Susan. I realize how truly blessed I was to have had my Dad all those years.

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