dear dad,

Out of all the people in the universe, the Creator chose you and mom to birth me.  My destiny was predicated on the two of you being engaged in matrimony. Sadly, when that union crumbled, my life was forever changed. 

You may not be aware, but it has taken me years to release feelings of abandonment and grief. My teenage and young adult years were completely marred by the notion that men will ALWAYS leave. I regret hopeless feelings of lack. I detest memories of my mother's pain. My heart aches about lost love because I could not conceptualize wholeness in myself. 

As a grown woman who has done a ton of work and self analysis, I write this letter to declare liberty in forgiveness and healing. I do not care (anymore) to dredge up childhood disappointments or misunderstandings. I am delighted to reminisce about some of the most special moments in my life - and you, Daddy, are a part of those. Honestly, my childhood was so rich in unique experiences; there are smells, sounds, tastes and textures that still take me back to those incredible moments. 

One of my favorite memories is of that old, steel, hand cranked meat grinder that contributed to some of the yummiest, homemade sausage - EVER. I'm still chasing that taste (Daddy, we made millions of them - where did they go?). And listen, when Angela and I want a real trip down memory lane, we just cue up some Lou Rawls and we are transported back to sunny days of innocence - in the backseat, on the open road to Texas and back, eight-track on blast. You gave us a real appreciation for the great balladeers of the seventies. 

There is one moment in time, though, that is ours alone. A simple walk (in the blazing heat) with me on your shoulders. My recollection of that moment always brings me to tears. The serenity of it. The love in it. The tenderness of you and me. We didn't even share many words. Maybe you sang me a song. I just remember feeling 20 feet tall and as small as a baby at the same time. I was safe and I was cared for and I had my Daddy.

I have evolved into the expressive, afrochic bohemian I am today, because I feel safe enough to be my authentic self. Your support and adoration of me, drive my fearlessness. Your pride for me is not quiet. It is loud, and it is real, and deep and true. It is a force. Know that I love you, Daddy, and I count it an absolute privilege to call you father. Happy Father's Day.