I’ve written many times about how tough my relationship with Danny, my father, can be. I’ve told stories of his anger and distance when I was young, and of his anger and distance now that I’m an adult.

I wonder what he truly feels. I used to never know that he actually loved me. I used to never know that I was loved.

And then I find this letter that he sent to me the Thanksgiving after my first child was born (with a packet of letters I had written to him over the years):

    Daughty-san

    I thought you’d like to see these letters, both for the sweetness in them and for the insight they give you into a young girl’s mind. I know that you were once one (and still, in many ways, are), but that’s primarily the past, and sooner than you can imagine or believe, your child will be older. If only you had dated them.

    One recurrent theme in all of the letters is your fear that I will tease you for showing your love… I guess my own fear of showing emotion and the consequent vulnerability is stronger than I realize… But then again, as I pointed out to you recently, if I were not secure in my love for you, and yours for me, I would not feel free to play with it – hence the salutation.

    Many years ago, you asked me if I had to do it over again would I have children. What a ballsy question that was from a young and, as you can see from these letters, insecure girl. Ballsy questions deserve honest answers, and then, at least, I did not tease you. I didn’t know, I told you, because I had never not had children. I was still a child when you kids were born. However, I pointed out, no one had ever offered me anything that I would have traded you in for. You were then and remain now, just about the best thing that ever happened to me – although now there is your child to give you competition.

    I may not be much for ritual, or tradition, or holidays, but you should know that, this being thanksgiving, you are what I give thanks for.

    Lots of love and thanks,
    Daddy-san

    a.k.a Grumpa, King Kong, and D. D. of the D. (Daring Dan of the Deep)

I am always amazed when I realize his love for me. I am always validated when he realizes he doesn’t often show it. He calls out my insecurity, and doesn’t get that his teasing probably helped that blossom and grow. It’s all very interesting.

I am thankful for these letters, and I’m thankful for this love. I hold it dear, especially now that it’s so tough for him and for us.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!