An Open Letter To My “Father” on Father’s Day

Deceptive. Manipulative. Controlling. Those are just a few of the words that could be used to describe you. I’m not going to go on a rant about your extensive character flaws since everybody who knows the truth about our relationship can figure those out. However, there are two words that I do want to say to you.

Thank you.

Thank you for teaching me a magnitude of things the hard way. Since I’m old enough to date, thank you for teaching me that I deserve to be with a man who’s going to treat me with love and respect instead of slapping me around and telling me that I’m not allowed to cry because it’s a sign of weakness.

Thank you for showing me the red flags of a controlling person and a potentially abusive relationship so that if I encounter a person of that nature, I can run before it’s too late.

Thank you for showing me that once I find said man who treats me with love and respect how NOT to raise my future children.

Thank you for showing me to be very careful and put a lot of deep thought into the person that I marry someday because if that person is a toxic one, (like you) my kids are going to be the ones who will suffer the consequences and I’ll be damned before I allow that to happen.

Thank you for teaching me how to use the comments and attitudes of my haters as motivation to work hard and pursue my dreams.

Thank you for teaching me that success doesn’t get handed down to you but you have to be headstrong and devoted to achieving your goals in life.

Thank you for showing me that I’m stronger than my circumstances and that what I’ve been through with you does not define me. I can’t help that you chose to put it out, but I’m not going to choke on your second-hand smoke.

I don’t want an apology because it would be empty. In addition, actions speak much louder than words and you’re too far gone for a second chance. Rather, I want you to know that I have learned, through your negativity, to see that little ray of sunshine peeking through the clouds. You didn’t raise me (thank God…) but even though you tried to pick me apart piece by piece on your visitation weekends, a strong woman came out of it. Believe me, the way I am today didn’t “just happen.” It took me years of counseling, mental hospital stays (and yes, suicide attempts), pushing people away because I didn’t know how to treat them and a group of people staying by my side through my childhood and adolescent years to show me the right way to do things.

So I guess I can sum this up by saying that, even though I used to resent you for throwing me out of your life when I was 11, that was the best gift that you could’ve ever given me because, at that moment, you allowed others to come into my life and help me repair the pieces that you broke.  Thank you for stepping aside and allowing me to become the person I am today.

Sincerely,

Caitie

When Mother’s Day Is Filled With Sorrow…

….It hurts.

When you think of Mother’s Day, it causes emotions for everybody. You might call your mom and tell her how much you love and appreciate her and it might be a day filled with joy. On the contrary, this day might be a day filled with sorrow if your mother has passed away. If that’s what this holiday is for you, please accept my deepest sympathy. If you’re a woman who has suffered the pain of losing a child and/or is dealing with infertility, my heart goes out to you as well.

While Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate your mom, I don’t feel like people pay attention to the child’s view of what this day means to them. What about the children who are in foster care or are adopted? What about the children in orphanages? What about the children who have parents, but don’t have a healthy example of what a mother is? What does this day look like for them?

I’m here to tell you that YOU ARE LOVED and that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! As hard as it is to realize that, I assure you that other people have gone through similar walks of life and can empathize with your pain. I praise God that I found my example of that and I pray that you do as well.

To the child in foster care…

I can’t imagine how hard it must be to bounce from home to home and not have the stability of having the same parents. I understand that it’s a very touchy subject, but if you are one of the children who is being abused in your foster home, please reach out for help. Any adult at school or a religious leader would be a great place to start. I know that it will be very difficult to ask for help, but please know that your situation is not your fault and that you deserve to have a beautiful and fulfilling life. If you’re someone who was blessed by your foster parents in terms of having support and love, then I rejoice with you on this day and hope that you continue to have peace and joy in your life.

To the child that is adopted…

Isn’t it amazing how your mom loves you as if you were her own biological child? I understand that you might resent your biological parents for giving you up, but please understand that your mom and/or dad most likely did it out of love. They recognized that you deserved a life that they felt like they couldn’t provide so they gave you to somebody that they knew could. If your mom or both your mom and dad gave you up simply because you weren’t wanted, then I can understand how you are hurt by that. However, you ended up with (a) wonderful parent(s) who love you more than you could know and I encourage you to seek comfort in that.

To the child who is in an orphanage….

Wow. I can’t fathom the pain and difficulty that comes with waiting for a loving home. I don’t really know what to say because I haven’t ever seen an orphanage or have known someone from one, but as difficult as it is, please have faith in whatever God you believe in that you will one day have a family. While you might, unfortunately, age out of the system, please know that you can build a healthy life for yourself. It will take lots of hard work and dedication, but use your circumstances as motivation to keep moving forward.

To the child who has been abused…

I’ve been there and I understand that it takes years to move past the pain and bitterness that abuse causes in your heart (I’m still not completely there). For me personally, it was my biological father that abused me and I used to hate my mom for having a baby (me) with him! Please know that while you can’t change the past, things will get better for you. When you are ready to, I encourage you to use your pain and experiences to help people going through what you did because the support that I found while I was going through my years of being abused is what kept me sane.

To the child that is feeling unloved in their own home…

…That’s my life right now. My parents aren’t abusive but I don’t feel like they’re good emotional support. However, I think that I just think about and go about life in such a different way than they do that it causes tension and failing expectations. This, in turn, results in unnecessary drama and bitterness. As hard as it is to do, be the bigger person and do what you need to do to not add fuel to the fire.

No matter what your story is, if Mother’s Day is a difficult and depressing day for you, I encourage you to seek advice and comfort from people who have gone through similar struggles. If you’re religious, turn to God (which I will admit is something that I need to work on) and try to flip the negative into a positive. For me, that would be that I have learned, very early on, how I DO NOT want to parent my future children. Your story is not wasted and you are not worthless. When you’re sobbing late at night because you’re feeling helpless and catch a glimpse in the mirror and wonder how it got to this point…please understand that while you’re feeling like you’re about to snap and lose your mind, the love of God, which you have received by pure grace will comfort you if you ask for it. You might ask, “If this thing called God is so loving and graceful, then why does pain and sorrow even exist in the first place?” Well, the world wasn’t supposed to be this way, but when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, the path that the human race was supposed to walk changed dramatically. That instance changed the life of humanity for eternity and therefore, we live in a “fallen world” so to speak. Even though that sounds tragic, please remember that, if you are a believer in the Lord, you are saved by grace and not by works. Even if you’re not religious, your story is not wasted, but rather a testimony of triumph when you overcome the struggles that come with the emotions and circumstances that write your story.