Dear Daddy,


We did not have it easy growing up.


Okay quite honestly, it was a roller coaster of emotional ups and downs. You and mom got divorced when I was 7 and my sister was 9. And I recall your many fights and seeing both you and mom saddened by not being able to find a way to see it through. Although life is not exactly how you pictured it, I am grateful for every bit of my life because you were there.


I remember you holding my hand in church every Sunday. This is one of the reasons I volunteered at the church to teach religious education classes when the kids were younger. 


I remember spending weekends at the home you rented, with my sister, Jaime, always making the most of the day by going to the nearby Italian deli for Italian bread and mozzarella sandwiches. Then sometimes we spend the day playing billiards or board games. The television rarely, if ever went on during the day. Our days were spent running outside or indoors playing games. All our time spent was quality, never wasted.


I recall the many books you read to me at night.The sound of your voice was always calming which made me believe that everything would be okay.


Maybe this is just why I became a writer today. Your example led me to feel the passion to express my knowledge and thoughts to the world. You taught me how to inspire from your inspiration. I am a 35 time marathon runner today because I began running just to spend more time with you when you went out on your runs. Dad, I would see you go out for your morning runs and it seems like a life transformation went on with every run. Less than an hour of cardio later, you had a carefree way about you. So I began running with you. And I ran longer just to spend even more time with you and listen to your stories of your walks of life. So many lessons you taught me on our runs together that I share with my 4 children today. And for this I am so grateful.


I clean my house and care about keeping my house together because this is how I saw  how you lived your life. Your mother taught you this and you are the legacy to share this with me along with your grandchildren. You showed me the importance of staying organized and this has helped me to be productive throughout life.


When you and mom divorced, you still went to every event of mine that you could. There were so many track meets that I never thought you would be at but I looked up and you were there. Whether I was first or last (or somewhere in between), I was still a champion in your eyes.


This is why I later became a competitive runner and went on to win many races. Later, I ran competitive in college and this is because you believed in me. You pushed your way in my life when I was scared of all the changes that we were going through as a family. I didn’t think I could have a healthy relationship with both you and mom, now that you were divorced, and you taught me that I could love you both. And when I felt less than perfect, you convinced I was the most perfect girl that ever lived. You also taught me that in order to be loved I had to love myself first. And from this, I have always stayed independent and loved all the things I could do to make this world a better place.


You taught me to believe in living life to the fullest by never giving up, but always going on. This is why I teach my 4 children to do just the same. And you pushed me to be strong when I was weak. Every job interview I went on, I was always offered the position because I had the bright eyed charismatic energy that any employer knew would be sure to get the job done. And you instilled this in me.


At 38 years old, I have been through so much but you guided me through life. For all of this I am so thankful and blessed. From heartaches and break ups to cancer scares and vascular surgeries. I always felt I could come to you. You are an extraordinary man. And although we may both be stubborn and similar minded in so many ways, we share laughter and love through everything.

So I wish you a Happy Father’s Day not just because you are my father but because you have demonstrated just what it means to show unconditional love to your child.  You are one of kindest, good hearted and most loving people that I know.  And I am proud to call you my dear old dad and for the children to call you Pop Pop.


Love you,



Tara Zimliki is a nationally recognized weight loss expert, personal trainer, health coach, health writer and founder of Tara’s Bootcamp, the Premiere Bootcamp of New Jersey. Tara also runs her own blog,