Today is my father's birthday. He's been dead a long time and he wasn't much of a father when he was alive. I don't know, my sister used to encourage me to consider the poor parenting we received with generosity - "they did the best they could." I tried that, but the truth is, that is bullshit. I was a constant disappointment to my father for reasons I never quite understood. I never lived up to whatever image he had for what I should be or who I should become.
He equated the love he expected from us on what he could provide, but the reality was, he was never much of a provider, and when his little financial shenanigans were eventually exposed, what was left? A month before he left my mother, he took out a second mortgage on our house to cover his debts, which was fine for him, but it torpedoed the rest of us. How do you do that to your own family?
Anyway, he died ignominiously, in a sleazy little hotel room in Cleveland, Ohio, forty pounds overweight, his last job was slinging t shirts at trade shows. I went on to graduate from a top twenty law school, have a professional career that included positions at the White House and the U.S. Department of Justice, and twenty subsequent years of success. But he never saw any of that, or, for that matter, my complete inability to form stable, adult relationships. Parental legacies are weird.
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