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To My Father Who Should Have Been There

A girl’s first true love is her father. —Marisol Santiago

You don’t love me by saying, “I love you"? once in awhile.

You love me by being there for me. You love me by making the effort to be in my life; to know me, to know what my dreams and passions are, who I love, what moves me.

It’s not the thought that counts. It’s the actual execution that matters. It’s not enough to know that deep down, you love me. You have to actually show me that you care.

You love me by making an effort for me; giving me your time, your understanding, remaining a rock when we fall on hard times, not leaving when things get hard.

It was your job to teach me how not to be afraid,

to open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance.

I hate how long it takes me to trust someone. I don’t want anyone’s sympathy; I don’t want these labels: The one with abandonment issues. The one who keeps you at a distance. The one looking to fill a void. The one with the trust issues. Because this is only a part of me; but the part that I need to fight every time someone tries to get close to me nevertheless.

It was your job to teach me that people don’t leave when things get hard. That people fight for what’s worth fighting for. It was your job to be the one man in the world who would never hurt me.

I shouldn't have to hang on to these small moments.

When I do begin to trust someone, I share these small moments with them. I share moments about how Dad pushed me on the tree swing and taught me to tie my shoes, how he always gave me the last scoop of ice cream.

But I shouldn’t have a handful of moments. I should have more than that. Because as a father it was your job to be there for me. To teach me about how stupid boys are, to be there for my first heartbreak and wipe my tears away telling me everything will be okay.

To tell me I’m beautiful when I don’t feel like it; to take a picture of me before my first prom, to be there for me when my dreams come true, with a look in your eyes that makes me feel like the most special girl in the world.

Don’t pretend everything is okay.

If you want me back in your life, you have to earn my trust, because you messed up. Nothing fixes itself, nothing comes back simply because you want it. When you a mess up a relationship, you have to work for it, fight for it, make an effort for it.

You thought that circumstances was an excuse to stop being there for me – so you let your past, your pride, your demons, your selfishness, the fact that you’re weak or scared, be a validation for why you stopped fighting for me, making an effort to be there for me.

But I am the girl you need to appreciate.

Give me your time, all your love, take me on a crazy adventure. Teach me something new, spoil me, make me feel special, I want to hear about the little things that make you, you. Your biggest regret, how you first met mom, the first girl who broke your heart.

I want you to challenge me. Change my view, make me believe in lasting relationships again. Teach me how to fix a flat tire, how to dribble a soccer ball, teach me how to be better. 

Don't lose me because of your pride, fears, ego or selfish ways.

A father should put his daughter first; inspire her to reach for more, love her so much that he won't betray her trust. Not walk out the door because it got too hard, because you shouldn’t let any circumstance ruin this – this unconditional love that every daughter needs to have.

Wake up and realize I’m worth fighting for. Because if you don't, you are the one who will suffer the most.

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