I always had a Dad. He was somewhere, though it wasn’t always with me.
I learned a lot from him through mistakes, work ethic, determination
and need to be the best, and even my temper.
Years ago, my Dad and I didn’t have a great relationship, which is
unfortunately becoming more common these days in America. I grew up scared of him. “If I wanted to catch you, I would,” I would hear as I was running away.
I remember getting hit across the kitchen floor and being afraid to talk to him for a long time as a kid.
Eventually, like 50% of American kids, my parents split up when I was
in middle school and I barely saw him. He said that he didn’t want to
take me away from my life like all my friends Dad’s did every weekend.
Though I understand when he told me a year or so ago, I never forgave
him for it. It was hard knowing he was there and not hearing from him.
In the mean time, I was lucky enough to have other Father figures in my life for a while growing up. My Grandpa was with me nearly every day until I went to college. He brought me to hockey 6 times a week, whether it was on Long Island, Pennsylvania , New Jersey, or Montreal. He brought me to girl friends’ houses, stores, vacation, drivers ed, and everything in between. He taught me to drive, how to get around Long Island, Brooklyn and NYC, and brought me to college for the first time. He was always there.
I also had a hockey coach, Chris, who took me under his wing when everything first happened with my parents. If my grandpa couldn’t bring me to practice, Chris was there. I played on his teams for years, hung out with his family, became good friends with his son, Mikey, and drove with him, along with Giovanni, J.T, and Mikey, to New Orleans for the Junior Olympics where we won a gold medal. He was always there.
My Mom started dating this guy, Jim, a year or two after my parents split. They’re still together. Jim brought me to hockey, taught me how to drive, and helped my Mom through some really tough times over the years. They now live together on Long Island and have recently remodeled (nearly) their whole house. He was always there, even if it wasn’t always directly for me.
Nowadays, my Dad and I have mended our relationship. I’m still afraid of him,
but in a, “I really hope he doesn’t mess up again” kinda way. As I got
older, it got harder and harder to hear about how broke he was, how broke “we” were, and how little things led to huge problems. I was sick of it.
He’s been better lately with a lot of it. We talk more often, I make a
point of seeing him when I’m on Long Island, and we even find more to
talk about than Brooklyn.
My one problem is that I see him being ambitious opening 3 bike shops,
a tattoo shop, buying an apartment complex in Binghamton, all while
being majority owner of a construction company, and I have a hard time
believing it’s all stable. I guess it’s not my job to worry, but I
worry about him as a person. It makes it hard to sit and watch him as
his kid not having any way to help if it all comes crashing down.
But I guess today isn’t about that. He’s been successful, just like
his dad. Our Italian heritage has some positives, though our intense
attitudes, awful accents, and need for spaghetti and meatballs 3 times
a month can be annoying to some. I’m proud of what he’s done, but I
wish he would sit and enjoy it for a second and relax for a change. I can only hope his good luck continues.