I recently got engaged to the love of my life. She is the most self less, creative, forgiving and loving woman I’ve ever met, as well as the most beautiful one. In learning to love her, I’ve learned how to love, accept and forgive myself along with those around me, most importantly my father. My father and I have never had a normal father daughter relationship. Sad enough to say, my story will seem very similar to far too many young women in our society today, but I never fully realized how much hurt the lack of that relationship caused me. For years, I would actively try to be the best daughter possible; great grades, modest personal life with seemingly good partners, and so many awards and achievements. I’ve lost count, but subconsciously I was hell bent on making him pay for missing out on my childhood, on memories we would never get back, and nights where I stayed outside waiting for a dad who forgot to come.

It wasn’t until my fiance began opening up about how awesome her dad was that i fully understood my envy, hurt and disappointment with my own relationship with my father. I remember one conversation we were having while planning our wedding about who was going walk her down the aisle, because this year marked the 5th anniversary of her dad passing away, and my first thought was i wish i could switch our dads, so she could have that daddy daughter moment. You see my fiance’s dad was the dad I’ve always wanted. He never missed a game, always had cool advice while also reprimanding her, played catch in the backyard, threatened dates on prom night, and told her how and why she was the best at everything. They deserved that moment far more than my father and me. I can count on my fingers how many birthdays I saw my dad, how many holidays we’ve celebrated and how many big events he attended. All counted with my two hands. So when she asked about him walking me down the aisle I thought how dare I have the audacity to spit in the face on such a cherished moment she will never get to experience by planning on banning my dad from the wedding altogether. While she is one of those awesome partners that would support whatever decision I chose,  I felt that I could at least try to be a better person.

That was the birth of this project. My father has until August 12, 2017 (tentatively, I’m waiting on a call back! *fingers crossed*) to get his shit together, or else there will be no aisle walking for him and I, there will be no father daughter dance, and there will be no invitation to #thisisIT2017 awaiting him in his mailbox. I am now challenging him to be a better parent, while also doing a little growing up myself. We will go on a series of daddy daughter dates, and they will not always cost and no he will not always pay, but they will consist of us spending time together and getting to know one another at this point in our lives. I’m going to try to keep this project as raw and unfiltered as I can without painting my father, myself and our relationship in a bad light, because we do have our good days…the bad ones just weigh a little more heavily on the memory. I’m going to write about our dates, conversations, growth and shortcomings in this journey.

My hopes for this project is to be better connected with my father at the end of this journey than we were coming in to it. At this time, I am contemplating telling him about it or not because I do not want him to feel villainized thus furthering the chance of our relationship staying static or even worse regressing. It is my sincere hope that he looks at this project as an olive branch and an example of genuine interest in him as a father and the health of our relationship, but who knows!

Wherever this project may take me, I will bring you all along with me: triumph, victories, tears and emergency calls to mom. I hope you all will stay engaged with me every step of the way! Do any of you have the same feelings about your dad? Have you been in this situation? What did you do?