Tenderheart’s my favorite mistake.

My dad would have been 72 today. He was 30 when I was born except I’m only 29 so the math is a little funny.

20130726-011231.jpgAnd I can just hear my mom thinking, Oh great, another blog about her dad. But I want her to know if she ever died, I’d be a rudderless boat in the middle of the ocean.

My dad wasn’t a great dad. When I was growing up, I was the only one I knew whose parents were divorced. I moved to Colorado to be closer to him and get to know him, and a month later he promptly disowned me because of the boy I was living with. I’ve never understood conditional love, but I’ve always said maybe everyone just does the best they can with the skills they have.

I remember being at his retirement party and hearing all these wonderful things about him and thinking I didn’t know him at all. Same with his memorial services. I spent a lot of my life being the one making the effort to get to know him and be part of his life, and what I miss most is I’ll never get to that. Not that we didn’t make progress but when I announced I was pregnant for the third time, he announced they were moving to Phoenix.

People, and by people, I’m talking about Dr. Phil said you shouldn’t speak poorly of your kids’ father in front of your kids because that’s half of who they are. I tell my kids all the time they got all the monkey’s best parts, his hair. I also tell them they’re going to have to be careful because they’ll unknowingly attract someone like their dad. I did. I didn’t even grow up with my dad and somehow married someone just like him. We all know how that turned out. And the truth is they’re going to form their own opinion about their dad and that’s up to them, but I want them to know they were made out of love and wanted and planned, well, except for Tenderheart.

Six years ago on July 25th I was probably overnighting a card and a gift certificate to a camera shop. Five years ago on July 25th, I wasn’t doing anything. In less than a year, in the blink of an eye, everything changed.

Not growing up with a dad really shaped who I am today and a lot of the decisions I’ve made. It’s the reason I still live here, so my kids will have a relationship with theirs. A relationship that he can make or break but that’s all on him.

And I don’t really have a point, shocker, I know, I just miss my dad. Good dad, bad dad, absentee dad, he was still my dad and I am half of him. From my blue eyes to my nose, I’m part of him. I just hope I didn’t get his cancerous pancreas.


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