For a long time, I couldn’t forgive my father. I couldn’t forgive him for cheating on my mom. I couldn’t forgive for spending weekends and evenings away from home at a job I knew he didn’t really like. I couldn’t forgive him for not showing more of an interest in me. I couldn’t forgive him for not playing catch with me. I couldn’t forgive him for not giving me more guidance in my life, especially with the advice a father should give a son. I couldn’t forgive him for mismanaging our family’s finances. I couldn’t forgive him for the shady business deals he got into towards the end of his life. I couldn’t forgive him for dying just as I was starting to know him better.
But my feelings towards him have changed since I became a father myself. I know how hard it is balancing a career and family. I know how hard it is to pursue my goals and ambitions while tending to my family’s needs.
I have learned from my father’s mistakes. I chose a career that I enjoy and fits my passions. I’ve gotten involved with my children’s activities, although my best efforts haven’t always worked out. I’ve worked to be a model of integrity, self-discipline, and loyalty. I’ve always been faithful, loving, and supportive of my wife. Even so, I’m sure my children look at me as an embarrassment from time to time. I hope that they know I love them and do my best for them.
Perhaps that’s what my father tried to do as well. He wasn’t as horrible as some other fathers. He enjoyed his liquor, but he didn’t abuse alcohol. He didn’t molest us. He didn’t beat us outside the occasional well-deserved spanking that was the norm back then. He tried to provide a comfortable life for my mother, brother, and I. If there were financial problems, he did his best to shelter us from them. Although he didn’t boost my self-esteem, he didn’t tear it down either. He had a good sense of humor and was a talented artist. He helped me build model rocket ships and cars. He even tried to take me camping.
My father wasn’t perfect, and there are still things that I couldn’t forgive him for. Still, he was my father. By forgiving his shortcomings, I can forgive my own so I can work to overcome them. So, I forgive you, dad. I forgive you.