This Father’s Day, I wanted to write a note to a special kind of dad – a dad like mine, and maybe a dad like yours, too.
To the father who shows his love through actions and not words:
I know sharing your feelings is difficult. You didn’t grow up in an environment where emotions were validated and hurts comforted.
I know that, for you, small talk isn’t natural and finding the right words isn’t always easy. A lot of people misunderstand you because, admittedly, you’re not skilled in social graces and political correctness.
I know that you like to keep phone conversations to a minimum and that you’d rather fix and tinker with things than carry on a long conversation.
I know these things, dad, and I love you.
When I was a teenager, I didn’t care that we didn’t share much of the “personal stuff.” But as a college student and young adult, I started to see your inability to connect with me as a major fault. It would make me angry, and I was jealous of friends with fathers who called them regularly and were so involved in their lives.
But, dad, as I got older, I learned a lot about life and relationships, especially when I became a parent myself. Don’t get me wrong – I still wish we could connect through conversation, but I know that’s not you and I’ve accepted your quirks. We all have them. And more importantly, I’ve learned that there’s not only one way to show love.
Because, dad, I know you love me. But for you, that love is shown through actions and not words.
I still remember how you showed up to every single track and cross-country meet of mine in middle school and high school. You never missed one. I could always count on your presence.
I still remember when I was living at home in my early 20’s and you would wake up extra early before work to scrape the snow and ice off my car. Every single morning. You never even told me you were doing it, and you never expected me to thank you.
I still remember when you drove almost three hours round trip in the middle of your work day to meet me at my internship site to fix my car because I was having a breakdown about missing an important test that evening.
I still remember when, after my first terrible breakup, you embraced me in a hug, peeked in my room several times, and gave me flowers.
I still remember when you went out and bought parts for my college best friend’s car and fixed it for free because you knew she couldn’t afford it and you knew I would appreciate it.
Dad, I know that you’ve always loved me in the way that you know how, and that’s what being a father is about.
To the daughter of the father who shows his love through actions and not words, actions often speak louder. You just have to be willing to hear them.