Today would have been my Dad’s 70-something birthday. He died too young, sitting on a couch, eating pizza. He was in the midst of his third marriage and he was broke, or close to it, yet again. He was estranged from his four children and didn’t know his grandkids, as well as his stepchildren and a child he’d adopted and hadn’t seen in years. This was his own doing, something achieved after decades of irresponsibility, spinelessness and shameful parenting. As the oldest of his four children, I was the only one in any contact with him (I was also the only one of his kids or stepchildren to attend his funeral, which should tell you something right there). Perhaps that’s because I was the child who’d had him in his life the longest as a parent. But each time I saw him in my adulthood, it wasn’t anger and frustration that I felt but crushing sadness, for him and, I guess, to some degree, for myself. My promise to myself after each depressing encounter was that I wouldn’t be anything like him… not personally, not professionally, and especially not as a father. So each fourth of July, I find myself looking inward and wondering if I’ve fullfilled that promise. I think it must be fate that my daughter was born on July 3rd, because it gives me a chance the day before to see in her a progress report of sorts. Yesterday was my daughter’s 21st birthday and we spent it together, as a family, as we always have. I felt so much love and pride for her that I can wake up this morning, look in the mirror, and say to myself with certainty, and no small measure of relief: “I’m not you, Dad.” I hope I can do the same next year.
14 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Dad. I Don’t Miss You.”
How sad! That your father never knew or had his children’s affection and love, through his own weakness/fault.
I am glad that you rose above this and not let it drag you down to his level.
God bless you and your family.
I’m guessing your Mom had something to do with how you turned out. Ditto! Happy 4th my friend.
My feelings towards my late Mom are much more complicated. She didn’t have it easy raising four kids alone, so I can forgive her a lot. At least she was in our lives, for better or worse, doing the best she could to raise us.
I too didn’t have a Dad since I was 5. My mom raised 3 kids on her own, on welfare bc she had to care for us. My name is Kathy and I love watching your weather forecast, my mom who passed 6 yrs ago always had a crush with you and loved how you dressed. She is gone but never forgotten. I am Irish and half polish and I know the history of the Jewish and polish people that the German put us through, I thank you for being our weather man. God bless you and your family!❤
Wrong Lee Goldberg. I am not the weatherman. Didn’t you notice our pictures don’t match??
I’m sure you are nothing like like him but I would say because of him you did way better then him and have a better out look on life and care for family
that is a very sad story, but also a happy one, sad that your father was not able to be strong enough to be a good father, but happy that you are able to be a wonderful father.
Many families go through these issues but some are not able to succeed as well as you have done.
God bless you and your family
I take it that you have broken this chain. That is enough. Dayenu..
My lasting memory of Allen was holding Linda at my Grandmother Barer’s pool with a cigarette in his mouth. You everything that he is not, a kind, caring person.
Very moving. I despised my Dad growing up; he drank way too much beer, liked to argue, thought as long as he brought home a paycheck he was doing his “duties.” My parents were married 37 years when my Mother dropped dead at age 56. She could have had an easier life I have no doubt and I blamed him for many years.
I hope you have forgiven your Dad. Sounds like he was ill.
I so enjoy seeing your wonderful family photos Lee; you can see the love within and that’s all we have is our family. It’s obvious what type of father and husband you are.
I hear this story a lot by now, having just celebrated my 65th birthday. I’m proud of you for recognizing how you are so different from him and you can rest assured, your daughter and your wife see and are thankful for that difference every day. Let him go and stop thinking you could be like him. You are not and will never be your father. Thank you, Lord, amen.
Best regards, Lee. You did a lot of good things for him and I’m sure he appreciated you very much. I agree with some of the others that letting go and forgiving is the best course. This post is the best thing you’ve ever written, IMO. With the way my life has gone, I forgive everybody, all the annoyances and obstacles, every day, I hate carrying it around so much. You are not alone in this, and you are certainly showing a mature way to handle it all.