An Open Letter to My Late Husband for Showing Me How to be a Good Dad

The night my husband died, I lost what felt like half of myself. From the moment I realized something was wrong until the moment the nurses handed me his wedding ring, I just kept repeating over and over, willing him back to me, “I CAN’T DO THIS WITHOUT YOU!

You see, the third kid was all his fault. (I had nothing to do with it. HA!)

While I was shocked by the little blue line, he jumped right on board. While I was unsure about the whole transition from one-on-one to zone defense, he had the confidence of a man who wrote the playbook.

As with everything, he was all in from day one.

On the day our youngest daughter was born, I was on the verge of a panic attack. But as they wheeled me to the operating room, he took my hand, looked me straight in the eyes with unwavering confidence, and promised: “Babe, we can do this. WE can. do. this.”

And then, just 13 months later, it was no longer we, but me.

How could I do it without him? How could I be both a mom and dad to three kids?!

Because he taught me well.

An open letter of gratitude to my husband for teaching me how to be a good dad.

Dear Kevin,

I said I couldn’t do it without you, but I did. And the irony is, I couldn’t have done it without you.

For a long time, I was mad at you for leaving. Then at some point along the way, the anger and grief turned to gratitude. We were making it, one day at a time, and you were always there. So much of the person and the parent that I am today is because of you. From the day we met, you invited me into a grand adventure. And though the road was rocky, it had the best views. You made me a stronger person; a person fully capable of raising our three incredible kiddos. I did it BECAUSE of you.

 

You taught me to …

Do the things. Sports. Camping. Road trips. Stopping at all the historical markers. You exemplified the phrase “off the beaten path” in every respect. Only you could take something as dull as an elevator ride and make a perfect stranger’s day with the line from the old Cheerios commercial: “I lowered my cholesterol”. At first, as your introverted counterpart, I was mortified. But then, when I saw how it made people laugh, how it made the world just a little smaller, a little more friendly, I embraced it. You’d be proud to see how easily the kids strike up a lively conversation with the checkout clerk, the delivery driver, or the person in front of us in line at the store. On the way back to the car, when the kids proclaim, “I like that about us!”, I always smile and tell them they take after you.

Take the leap. Remember our first anniversary when you went skydiving and broke your ankle and we ended up spending the day in the ER? That was fun. Remember the Mother’s Day when you were showing off your splash bombs to the kids in the pool and you tore your ACL and we ended up spending the day in the ER? That was fun. But somehow, I could never be upset about it because even though your feats were crazy (and excessive!) at times, I admired the way you always took the leap.

Own your stuff. You weren’t perfect. Things weren’t always easy. Many times, neither of us had a clue what we were doing. But you were always the first to say “I’m sorry”. You never pointed the finger at me. You showed up, flaws and all. You owned your stuff and you showed me that there’s strength in that. Our kids need to know we’re human. We screw up. And when we do, we apologize. We do better next time. We love unconditionally. We grow.

And of course … last but not least … dogpiles solve just about anything.

So, on this special day, when the kids are making ME breakfast in bed, I want to thank you for the lessons you taught me about how to be a mom AND dad for them.

Happy Father’s Day, Babe. Thank you for sharing it with me.

Alisa’s 15 minutes of fame was as a news reporter just after college. These days, she embraces multiple roles – a mom of three (two teenagers and one who is #adulting), a graduate student at UT Dallas Jindal School of Management, and a freelance writer, editor, and tutor. When she’s not hiding out in the library, you can find her next to a chiminea fire on her back patio. She loves indie movies, eclectic music, random road trips, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, her kids, and her cat Jack Jack (although not necessarily in that order). She grew up as a military brat, residing in four countries and eleven states before settling in the Dallas area. After 20 years here, and with the help of her Aggie daughter, she can seamlessly use “y’all” and “howdy” in a sentence like a true native Texan.

2 COMMENTS

  1. What a beautiful tribute to Kevin! I’m certain he is so proud of the tremendous job you’ve done raising your family! ❤️

  2. So beautifully written as usual. Thanks for sharing your memories and your heart. Love you always sweet girl! 😘

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