My dad was far from perfect. But there’s one great thing I’ll never forget about him.

My father was far from a perfect dad. In fact, there were many times I wished he wasn’t my father. Suffice it to say that my dad’s life didn’t turn out the way he had planned, and that fact that made him bitter. When that bitterness seeped out of him, it turned him into someone no one wanted to be around.

But as he got older, my dad mellowed out and seemed happier and more at ease with life. Maybe the inevitability of aging made him reevaluate. Working less and cultivating his hobbies seemed to help him find some relief from his mental burdens. And becoming a grandfather absolutely changed him. As time went on, old wounds were healed. I became closer to my dad and more inclined to let go of the past and enjoy the present.

But right as my relationship with my dad was getting rejuvenated, he was gone—a victim of a stroke. Suddenly I was writing a eulogy, summing up the life of man I had just been getting to know.

It’s been five years since he died, and with each passing year the bad memories fade and the good ones crystalize. I figure this is my right as a daughter who has lost her father: to choose to remember what I want and let go of the other stuff.

The biggest positive thing I remember about my dad was that he was 100% confident that I was born to Do Great Things. That man did all he could to ensure I would attain excellence in my life, especially when it came to my education. In fact, he wanted me to go to a private high school in the city so badly that every day of my freshman year, he drove me 50 miles roundtrip to and from school. Thankfully, bus service started up my sophomore year, but he would have kept on driving me until I got my license, that’s for sure. In his eyes, I deserved the best education, and he’d drive wherever he had to in order to get it for me.

When I got into several colleges, my dad insisted I go to the best one despite the cost. When I wanted to change my focus from teaching to writing, he cheered me on, convinced I would be a successful, best-selling writer. And when I graduated from Boston College with honors, my dad was bursting with pride (but he was also completely sure that the college got it wrong and I actually graduated with higher honors).

No dad is perfect, and mine was more imperfect than many. But he was my dad. When Father’s Day comes up this June, I’ll choose to remember how my dad had complete and utter faith in the idea that I was born to great things. And I’ll honor his faith in me by continuously striving to do great things, big and small, in my life and in the lives of others.

Right before he died, I had told my dad about my plans to start a blog. He would be floored to see where my blog is now and how it’s turned into a community that helps women around the world.

Actually, I take that back.

That’s exactly what he would have expected.

[Tweet “How an imperfect father’s faith still inspires his daughter #imbornto #ad”]

This post is sponsored by the March of Dimes #imbornto campaign and The Motherhood. As always, I strive to make my sponsored posts an organic part of Honest Mom, and all the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

The March of Dimes believes that every baby is born to do something great. But in order to do those great things, every baby needs a strong and healthy start in life. This Father’s Day, why not get a gift from one of the amazing brands—such as Blue Rhino, kmart, and Bon-Ton—that are supporting the March of Dimes? Visit for more information!

photo credit: Fishing off the Dock via photopin (license)

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7 Replies to “My dad was far from perfect. But there’s one great thing I’ll never forget about him.”

  1. Almost everyone carries the wounds of the cruel and ignorant that slay them. Your father was not an exception. If you don't compare him to something he wasn't, it will be easier to see his perfection.

  2. He sounds like a great dad. My dad was mentally ill and was only somewhat like a dad while I was young. He passed away last year without me ever getting to really know him. It's do important to reconcile differences with parents before it's too late.

  3. Exactly how I feel about my dad. He was largely imperfect and even emotionally dangerous, but there was no doubt he loved and believed in me. No doubt at all. He died in 1996 and I’ve grown more and more fond of him as the years without him have ticked by. I think you’re right: we have the privilege of time and distance to examine our fathers through. It’s entirely our right to tease out the good parts to cherish, and bury the bad parts with the dead.

  4. As someone who hasn’t really had a “good” father figure in my life, this really spoke to me. It’s funny how we try to remember the good and forget the bad once our loved ones are gone… I think that’s one of those subtle gifts from God. Thanks for always being so open with us JD – it’s what makes me love your blog!

  5. I found this post searching the Internet for help dealing with what seem to be the type of feelings your father struggled with. I am a father of three and I feel overwhelmed and bitter about a job I hate — seemingly stuck by the salary that I need to take care of them. I worry that they can see this, especially as my oldest has reached middle school. I lose my patience a lot and regret showing that side of me. While I wish my life had played out differently in terms of my career and even where I live, I certainly never regret having them — I love them to the ends of the earth — but I’m afraid at their ages that they can’t see the nuances and just think I’m unhappy with everything. It’s hard to explain or show without putting too much on them or feeling like a fraud. All that said, I appreciate your post. It makes me consider all I’m going through. It’s a daily struggle to make sure I’m being the best I can for them and I pray I’m doing a good job. Thank you for sharing this… At least tonight I feel a little less alone in this.

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