Regardless, he was my Superhero.
Dad was 44 when I was born. He was not exactly a spring chicken when his Mini Me came into the world. A year and a half later, my kid sister arrived.
I was 3, and my little sister not yet 2, when my Mom died. Suddenly, my Father was responsible for raising two little ones on his own. Did I mention I also have a sister who is 16 years my senior?
I can’t even begin to think how devastating it must have been to have lost the love of his life, but did he even have time to mourn her passing? How could he with two motherless children suddenly depending on him for everything?
Somehow, dear old Dad found a way. Of course, he might have had a little difficulty in the fashion department, as evidenced by this photo. We always had clothes on our backs (however tacky) and, apparently, a helmet on our heads to keep us extra safe!
Even though I have problems with the woman he chose to be our Stepmother, Dad did make sure we had a Mother figure in our lives. He remarried when I was 6.
I received an excellent Catholic School education, and he made sure I had time for extracurricular activities like baseball, scouts, and altar boys. I graduated from grammar school at the top of my class, winning the General Excellence Award at graduation.
I went to one of the best high schools in New York on a full scholarship, and then attended NYU. My Dad always supported my dream to be a writer, and never once told me that he could use his connections as Citibank, where he worked for over 25 years, to get me a job were I to fail in the pursuit of my dream.
For as long as I can remember, my Dad was sick. There were always problems with his stomach, and he would eventually die of stomach cancer. However, I don’t remember my Dad as a weak, sickly man. He was always full of life. His laughter was infectious. Everybody loved him, and I don’t have a single memory of his ever yelling at me, raising a hand to me, or using his words to make me feel like I had failed him.
From my Dad, I inherited my fanatical love of the Yankees and Notre Dame. He used to sing all the time in the car, so I blame him for my foolish belief that I have a wonderful singing voice which should be shared with everyone and at all times.
When I was scared about having to take the subway on my first day of high school, my Dad rode with me to make sure the big, bad city didn’t gobble me up as a morning snack. As a kid, I used to wait outside for him after work. The second I saw him coming up the block from the subway, I’d sprint down to the corner to greet him. He’d promptly turn over the New York Post so I could devour the Sports section before dinner.
I remember begging Dad for “burp kisses” when he’d tuck us in at night. That always sent me to bed smiling, and made me a little less afraid of the dark.
I’ve always said that I write screenplays and stories about bank heists to get my revenge on the bank that kept my Father from me. Of course, I should be happy that the bank was there with a steady paycheck for all those years, but for some reason, I blame the bank for draining my Dad of his youth and making him sick.
The point of all this rambling is to thank my Dad for being my Superhero. He rose above a horrible tragedy to make sure I had everything I needed, that I chased my dreams, and I never realized how screwed up I should’ve been because my Mom died when I was 3.
I guess his superpower was that he raised a creative little nerd to believe in himself and use his words, rather than rebellion, to express his feelings.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I miss you so much, and I’m trying very hard to live up to your name and make you proud of me…