I Forgive You for not Being Perfect


My father was born 90 years ago today. He died 45 years later. Which means he’s been dead the same number of years he lived. Cold, round numbers that fail to tell who he was.

Dad impacted every aspect of my life, although I couldn’t see it at the time. I was too absorbed in myself to realize how much a part of me he was. His temper, his ambition, his eye-rolling puns. But also his passion to do right: it wasn’t until he died that I learned how many people admired him, how many he’d encouraged and treated kindly.

Every Christmas Eve we’d drop off a gift for his answering service lady on the way to our family gathering. I’d squirm impatiently as Dad held her twisted hands and chatted her up. She had advanced rheumatoid arthritis and was confined to a wheel chair. I had no idea what was wrong with her; I just knew I was uncomfortable when Dad insisted I bend down and give her a hug, which she received as though it were a bag of jewels. I’m ashamed to say I don’t remember her name. How I wish I’d treated her more kindly.

Like Dad did.

As a teenager, all I could see were his imperfections. Mark Twain said that at about the same age, “My father was so ignorant, I could hardly stand to have the old man around,” but years later “I was astonished at how much the old man had learned.”

It took me longer to realize your worth, Dad. I’d so love to have you and Mom here for the holidays, to reminisce with you, to tell you how grateful I am for the things you did get right. But you’re not. I had to learn who you were and how you felt by being you, that is by being a father and watching my own children learn to forgive me.

So, here goes:

I forgive you for not being perfect. Do you forgive me? Never mind. I have kids, so I already know the answer.

Merry Christmas, Dad!

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir, Quips and Quotes, Story Power and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to I Forgive You for not Being Perfect

  1. lou rasmus says:

    wow, thank you for sharing this

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like your dad was a good, kind, and remarkable man, Mitch. And the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Prachi says:

    Wow! Parents are like enemy to us in the teens. But no one can be above then to the kids. Your feelings are so pure.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. chocotales says:

    Wow. This is really moving.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This brought tears to my eyes, Mitch! Beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. schoen55 says:

    A touching story that is so true! Thank you for sharing and bringing these feeling so alive for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jeff Rab says:

    Fatherhood is a road map for a child’s life, often at the expense of the father’s heart. And just as you said, a father’s heart, at least the good ones, are seldom fully appreciated until age and experience show the children what it was they once had.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Wow…So touching, so true! Blessed, Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love this Having just lost my Dad last year, it brings up a lot. Thank you for sharing so eloquently.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Edward Sosa says:

    Moved to tears Mitch. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. dawnlizjones says:

    I am blessed beyond measure to still have my folks at 88 and 85. Thanks for this poignant reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A deeply moving, heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Joan says:

    The daughter, the mother, and the grandmother that I am thanks you for this beautiful, heart-felt piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I have kids. I understand. Fortunately my dad lived to be 89 so I had lots of time with him to appreciate his wisdom. Not so with my mom however. She died when I was 12.

    Thanks for sharing your dad with us. Be blessed. God is in an amazing mood.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. nancyehead says:

    So true, Mitch. So true. God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. A very sweet post indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. It is how smart we become with time. Great post! God Bless YOU!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Roos Ruse says:

    Sob! Deeply touching. Another masterpiece, Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Touching post, Mitch. Loved this.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Ann Coleman says:

    Just beautiful, Mitch! Learning to forgive our parents for not being perfect, and yet doing the best they could to raise us, is such an important part of growing up. Far too many people don’t seem to be able to do that, and that can be crippling. My father is gone, and he was far from perfect, but I was truly blessed to have him in my life. And when I find myself getting impatient with my mother, I just stop and think, “and how patient do I want my kids to be with me when I’m her age?” That helps!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Awesome! Thanks, Mitch. This is one of the most powerful posts of the year. Seriously, thank you, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Crystal says:

    Truly touching… Thank you for sharing! Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Lara/Trace says:

    You have a new happy follower!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Wow! Very well-written! I enjoyed it alot.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. crossroman says:

    Well done Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Bette Cox says:

    Mitch, my email address bounces back when I try to subscribe to this blog, saying email is invalid. But it is valid. I prefer to follow your blog by email rather than Reader and this is a new problem for me. Any suggestions? Bette Cox

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Bette, I wish I knew what to tell you. First time someone’s mentioned getting an invalid email message (I prefer to do WordPress follows myself, so my email inbox won’t get overcrowded). Have you tried googling something like “wordpress email invalid message”?


      • Bette Cox says:

        I didn’t try that, Mitch, but I did find an alternate method – I used your URL as an RSS feed for my igHome home page. I have RSS feeds there from several dozen sites around the world, mostly news headlines but also several blogs. That should work well for me. However, since this problem is so weird, I’m also going to keep looking for an answer. Blessings, Bette


      • mitchteemley says:

        Glad you found a work-around, Bette. And blessings upon you, too!


  27. eidswick says:

    As a father of a 9-year-old, I found this post comforting. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Pingback: My Top Blog Posts of 2017 | Mitch Teemley

  29. Pingback: Forgive – Alienated Dad: Based on a True Story

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