My daughter's school asked parents to write a letter to their child for their high school graduation. Here's mine:
April 21, 2012
I'm sitting here at the computer because I have been told that I am supposed to write you a letter for your graduation. Probably something telling you how proud I am of you and things like that. Sorry, but I'm just not feeling it.
Instead all I can think about is the rotten way you've treated me during your high school years at _______, about how you have rejected me and had almost nothing to do with me. Except when you want something that is. Oh, when you need something from me you're nice and sweet and then as soon as you get what you're after I don't hear from you anymore. You don't come to my house to see me unless there's something in it for you like birthday or Christmas. As soon as you have your gifts in hand you're out of here and God only know when you'll be back. How many times have you turned me down when I asked you to come over and eat with us, or spend a night or two? How many times have I reached out to you wanting to spend some time with you, or offering to take you somewhere to spend some time together and been rejected?
When you wanted to go to Arizona over spring break to see _____ you were all about me. And you sure wanted to talk to me when you were stuck out there and needed my help getting home. Now that you're home, how much have I seen you? Not fifteen stinking minutes!
I have spent most of my adult life providing for you and taking care of you. Giving you baths, feeding you, changing your diapers, playing Santa Clause when you were little, riding you around in the car for hours at night when you were crying and couldn't go to sleep, holding you up in the air like Simba when you were watching the Lion King, rushing you to the hospital when you broke your arm. I built you a playhouse in the backyard. I taught you to ride a bike, swim, and ski. I had always looked forward to teaching you to drive but didn't really get to because for some reason you seemed to prefer letting your mother's boyfriend teach you (yeah, that hurt me more than you will ever know). I worked hard and made a good career for myself so you could have a good life and have nice things like your own swimming pool, nice clothes, a nice home, and go to a private school.
Let's see. What else? Oh yeah. Every dad wants to meet the young man who is going to date his daughter. Did I get a chance to do that? Nope. I wasn't asked if it was ok for you to start dating (that's your mom's fault). You never brought _______ over and introduced him to me (your fault). I met him totally by accident one day when I brought ________ back to mom's house. And I'll never forget prom night when I wanted to come over to see you in your prom dress and get a picture of you and ______ and you said you didn't want me to (ouch that hurt). And just so you don't misinterpret me, I like ______ and think he is an outstanding young man. I want nothing but good for the two of you.
Last year I said something to you about you not coming over. You told me it was because you were busy with school and that you would spend time over here during the summer because you wanted to use the pool. I think you came over twice that summer.
And let's not forget how I was completely left out of your college selection plans. You didn't talk to me about it and I was never invited to go on any of the campus tours. About the only time it was mentioned to me was when you told me which college you had decided on. Bet I won't be forgotten about when it's time to pay tuition though.
Do you have any idea how many events in your life I looked forward to from the time you were a child that I have now missed and will never get a chance to do again because you didn't want me in your life and how much it hurts to be left out of them? Friends tell me when you are an adult you will understand and our relationship will be better. I hope they are right but that still won't give me back all the things I missed out on. I feel like I have been robbed of three years of your life that I can never get back. And people wonder why I get bitter and angry.
Maybe you blame me for the divorce I don't know. I know mom told you stuff she never should have. Anyway, if that's the case then you need to let me know and we will talk about it. You might be surprised what you don't know.
All I know is this, _____, I have tried, every way I know how, to reach out to you and let you know that I love you and want to spend time with you only to be rejected almost every time. It finally got to the point where the rejection hurt so much I just quit trying.
I don't even know why I'm bothering to write this. After all, I've said much of this before and it did absolutely no good so why should this time be any different? Whatever.
P.S. As I said I want nothing but good for you and _____. With that in mind I want to leave you with some advice. The example you have had set for you and the way you treat me is that a man is someone to be manipulated into giving you what you want. If you continue with that mentality you will have a hard road. A good relationship is not about what you get from another person, it's about what you give.
I don't have an anger problem, I have an idiot problem.