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I guess today is just built to make me cry.

My father has made it abundantly clear that he wants nothing to do with me. He walked in and out of my life for years, leaving me constantly longing for a relationship that I could only observe from the periphery: watching dads play with their kids in the park; standing silently by as my friends’ dads fixed their hair or hugged them after school.

Just recently, after my grandmother died, he unfriended my on facebook — no exchange, no words, no reason. We’d been “friends” for less than a year, a connection sparked by the death of his brother, a connection that I entered into with great trepidation. How would I get hurt this time?

But.

My mother has always reminded me that I had no shortage of fathers. There have always been so many amazing men that have shown me — and her — compassion, support, and unwavering love.

There was a time when a father effortlessly lifting his child onto his shoulders would simply reduce me to tears. Now, while there is still a pang of jealousy (I don’t think that will ever go away), I can’t help but be proud and very, very grateful. I feel, in a way, privileged to see those moments, even if I haven’t experienced them myself.

Thank you, Earl. You don’t have to be sorry. You are, as you said, trying — and that’s honestly all we ever needed. Someone who saw us as worth the effort. Knowing that there are men like you out there, at least for this fallen daughter, makes it so much better.