Dear Dad,

It’s coming up on your birthday. And you’re not here to celebrate. First time in my life. Even in the years (most of them) when we were apart, I knew you were out there – somewhere on the globe, feet firmly planted on the ground. I had a dad.I know you’d say you’re still here, right with me. That if I “tune in” I can even still talk with you. But I’m less enlightened than you, so instead, I sit at my computer, wishing I could send you a WhatsApp. And I publish a Father’s Day thank-you letter, hoping you’ll tune in to today’s Huffington Post.

Before your birthday, your oldest grandson will have his. 14 years since you stood by my husband and I – beside Mom and her partner and the two midwives – and welcomed him into this world. Noticed in those first moments that he looks straight into your soul. Declared with confidence that this wasn’t his first time around. 14 years since you called off the final trip to Home Depot that would have allowed me to give birth at home with a flush toilet instead of an “earthquake toilet” (read: paint bucket equipped with a kitchen garbage bag and a toilet seat resting on top). Since you stood by and used your energy to keep the masses calm through my tsunami contractions. And then with what the kids learned to call “Grandpa’s sweet remedies,” you encouraged that little guy to flip around, and relieved me from the back labor I was no longer sure I could endure. Thank you. Thank you, too, for finishing the bathroom remodel by my due date. It wasn’t your fault he came four days early.

If I were to scan my life really quickly, there’s a lot I can thank you for:

Delivering me far before it was accepted for a father to even be present at his child’s birth;

Walking with me on the beach;

Trusting my wisdom, even though I was 20-something years your junior;

Teaching me to drive (when there were still stick shifts, and mom “wasn’t doing it right”);

Teaching my three boys to tie their shoes (when my method wouldn’t do);

Modeling a life without regrets;

Adhering to your values and beliefs, popular or very unpopular.

Sending you love this father’s day – wherever you are. And hoping that on occasion you “tune in” to mainstream media.

Love, Tosha

An excerpt of this post was published this father’s day on Huff Post Divorce, in a short compilation of thank you’s to divorced and single dads. You can read what others wrote here: