Dads & Daughters

Dads & Daughters

Regan’s gone for a week visiting family on the west coast. She’s with her uncle, who is a great friend and father-figure to her. We even moved out to Portland for a time to be close to him. (And Regan would probably still live out there, if it wasn’t for me needing to come back to Minnesota.)

So this week with my wife away, I am “bachin’ it,” as they say.

I’m not entirely alone. My daughter’s here, making sure the house keeps running. I’m grateful for her. She makes the coffee *a bit* darker than her mom. That’s okay. 

My dad, Richard, is here, too.

Richard and I go way back. He is the first and only dad I ever knew, though he is not my biological father. He dated my mom for a short time when they were teenagers. When he came back from serving in Vietnam and they reconnected, she had a kid along, too. I don’t know that he was thrilled about that. He remembers I was three or four at the time. But he stepped right into that father role. He says I was a fun kid, a goofy kid – my mind going in fourteen different directions, all at once, and eventually they all come back together. “That’s why you’re so good at business,” he says. He knew me from the start.

When I was first learning to ride my bike and crashed it outside my grandparents’ house, standing in my grandma’s house with blood gushing from my head, Richard was the one they called to come get me. He left work – I remember thinking that was so cool – to take me to get stitches.

Even after he and Ma split up, he’d still take me along hunting and fishing with his son Chris, my younger half-brother. Why did he bring me along? “Why not?” he says, so matter-of-fact. 

I was 13 when I learned Richard wasn’t my biological father. It threw me – completely unhinged my understanding of who I was and where I had come from. Because at that point, even though I didn’t have a whole lot to do with Richard, he was still my dad, you know?

After that, even as I took a lot of different routes to find my biological dad, I kept coming back to Richard.

When Zoe was born, I brought her over to Richard's house. I hadn’t seen him in a long time. I knocked on his door and said, “Come on out, there’s something I want to show you.” He came out, and I pointed to the car seat, and my daughter inside. Something in me wanted to show my daughter to my dad.

I did eventually find my biological father. But he’s not my dad. 

Now, twenty some years later, Dad and I are closer than we’ve ever been. He moved up to Northern Minnesota to be closer to our family. (Truth – Regan and I badgered him for two years to sell his duplex and move up north.) And the real kicker for me is seeing Dad and Zoe together. They’re tight. He’ll even go to her doctor’s appointment with her, if she wants. They’ve got a bond that goes beyond genetics, to a real heart connection. 

That’s what I feel, too. 

I’ve walked a long path toward peace with fatherhood. Both as a father, and to find my father. Today, I can say how grateful I am to call Richard  my Dad.

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