I am not a perfect mother.
I know that.
And I don’t pretend to be.
Just last week, I confessed to using the N-word in front of my children. The next day, I received countless emails from readers demanding a greater explanation than the one I gave.
In short, I am not perfect.
No parent is.
My father is no exception. On Jan. 15, I released a memoir about my father and the addiction that stole so many years of his life. He hasn’t read the book yet, but has already warned people that they might not like him after reading it. My father is no fool. He knows every story has a protagonist and an antagonist. He thinks it’s only natural that he be dubbed the villain.
But I beg to differ.
Yes, my father, while under the influence of crack cocaine, has made some terrible decisions. He has racked up his share of mistakes. But who hasn’t? My father, who didn’t grow up with an active father in his life, never received that perfect-parenting instruction manual in the mail.
But my father has never given up. Although he missed seeing me off my first real date, he was there to give me away at my wedding ceremony (photographed below). And even though he missed my high school graduation, I was able to look over at him at my college graduation.
And I know sometimes that doesn’t feel like enough. As parents we want to be flawless. But we never will be. I released a book about my father not to vilify him, but to encourage him. I did it to encourage you. I wanted people to see that life truly is a marathon. We’re all running it together. I couldn’t imagine running the race without my father. And as a parent, that’s what I want to hear my children say.
So as my father arrives in Omaha this week for my book release party, I hope he has his cape on because he’s a hero to me. And a hero isn’t perfect, he’s just as my father always taught me; he’s a person that always tried to do the next right thing.
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