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Father’s Day Letters: Rocky Road, But Grateful

I have never wished my Dad a “Happy Father’s Day.”

Partly because I’m not consistent with having his phone number. The other reason…well, as you can tell from the opening of this writing, we’ve never had a close relationship.

It’s been spotty, sketchy, rocky and, at times, dismissive. And though it’s been those things, there has always been love with an occasionally mumbled, ‘Yeah…love you, too, Pops.”

Truth is, while some can sound off a list of “daddy moments and lessons”, I can more readily attest to the gifts and talents, I most likely received from simply being an extension of his DNA.

Take my career for example. For the longest time, I fought against becoming a “writer”, a “journalist,” but when I changed my major while attending Columbia College Chicago from Television to Magazine Journalism, a life filled with opportunity opened up, landing me here, at JET, writing to him through you.

Pops, I’m grateful.

It wasn’t until last year, that I started to understand the core and my intrigue in storytelling, interviewing and affinity for words and visuals. That realization came after a horrific tragedy and loss that brought me face-to-face with my Pops, in a conversation – for the first time in a long time. This was different. Emotions from the unforeseen cause of our meeting aside. This was the first conversation that felt genuine. This was the first conversation where he wasn’t dwelling in the past and aggressively in pursuit of trying to fix the broken or understand the lapse in our communication.

No, he took in my being and spoke things into my life that I had never heard him say. This was real.

At that moment, along with the knowledge I had about him relating to literature, being a deep thinker and writer, I understood, that yes, SO much of me is my Mother, but my gift of translating ideologies, observations and conversations into stories, a great bulk of it, can be attributed to him.

Pops, I’m grateful.

This year, Father’s Day is heavy for me. Many events have happened that drew me closer to and yet still keep me distant from him. Recently, following my 30th birthday, we had one of the absolute realest talks that was either long overdue or right on time. I expressed every piece of built-up anger. He listened. We hung up and the feeling was light.

Could this be the first year I call and wish him a “Happy Father’s Day!”? Honestly, I’m still unsure. Maybe a text message?

No matter how it happens, for the father and influence he has been to my clan of brothers and sisters who have lived under his roof and encountered his teachings and long-winded speeches (LOL!) on a more constant basis, it is deserved.

So, Pops…here’s my first “open letter” to you and know that even if you don’t get that call or text, this year… I still love you.