Thanks for screwing up in a phenomenal way.
Your screw ups, and their lasting effects on me, have done me a world of favors. Truly. I used to loathe you for it, but now I only feel some mild apathy and pity because you've missed out on the nine best things to ever happen to your world- your children and grandchildren.
By your actions, you taught me that a promise is never real until it's proven.
You taught me that I could always pass the buck to someone else if I wanted nothing to do with the task at hand. However, what you neglected to say out loud is that you cannot gripe about the results because you've given up all responsibility.
You were the life professor who taught me to never settle for less than I would be willing to give. To never hang all of my hopes and dreams on a person who doesn't love himself enough to love me in return. To never show all of my cards because someone will take advantage of that, like you.
I learned that addictive personalities are genetic, but being an ignorant jackass isn't.
You taught me what to look for in a father for my children. Someone who would care. Be there. Someone who would remember their child's birthday.. or a graduation.. or the birth of a grandchild or a wedding. Someone who would want to be there. Someone who understood that my parents being at an event for our children was a privilege, not a right. You lost the memo for the last one.
You taught me that I didn't want to marry someone like you in my formative years. Someone who would not be violent, someone I could trust, and someone with a real backbone, who wouldn't allow his childhood to rule his head for his entire adulthood. Without ever actually directing me that way, you sold me on the idea of gravitating toward a survivor like me who would understand that life's not always a pretty picture for everyone. We, at the time, were the best things to happen to each other. So, thank you.
As a frequent consumer of cheap booze and spewer of denial, you instilled in me the belief that I must take responsibility for my actions- while intoxicated or sober. A whole world built upon lies must make your head a very frightening place. It's a place that no therapist, medication, or daughter can explore because you've closed off the in roads. That world must be lonely, but we on the outside will never know. I speak and live my truth to the best of my abilities. I poke fun at it, but I try to never deny it.
In the less than dozen times I saw you growing up, you taught me that I wanted more for myself. That I would never be comfortable with someone else raising my children, as you were, while I was raising someone else's, as you did.
I know that just because you're so terrified of being responsible for what you've created, doesn't mean that I'm the same way. I'm not like you.
I learned from you that I have strong roots in things which aren't great, but I am the person who chooses to cut those roots. I choose my future and what I will allow to affect me from my past.
You didn't do that. You chose the roots embedded in darkness and I chose to allow light in my life. I had to cut the roots that led to you and I am grateful every day that I did.
By both actions and inactions, you've taught me so much.
Thank you, Dad. Happy Father's Day.
*This is the proper way to spell my name, in case you're reading this and wondering.