The fifth – and final – in a series of posts on my dad, growing up with (and without) him, and our eventual reconciliation (one of many).

We agreed to meet at my dad’s house. And there was one major piece of news that he had not yet heard.

Jen was pregnant.

His dream was to be a “Nonno” and he didn’t even know his daughter Jen was, at that point, 4 or 5 months pregnant (can’t recall exactly when this reconciliation was!). Jen decided to use this opportunity to tell him.

I knew it was going to be poignant, but didn’t realize just how poignant it was.

We came over, it felt awkward, a little surreal. He gave us big bear hugs and was glad to see us. Jen handed him a card. He opened it…and slowly started to read…”Grampa? What’s this? Wait…no….who is it?!”

And he opened the card, the sonogram slipped out, and he cried.

Like I’ve never seen him before.

He said “I’m going to be a Nonno?!”

And we cried, and it was perfect. It was as if Baby N had already started to bond us all together, like she has continued to do, to this day. That was the day we reconciled. The first time my dad had ever admitted to being as wrong as he was, for missing a huge chunk of our lives, including Jen’s pregnancy and my divorce (not to mention our 30th birthday).

Now, we have a better relationship with him, albeit somewhat guarded (naturally). It’s been going relatively smoothly, and while I still keep my emotional distance, I think this is the first time my dad has truly learned from his mistakes. I hope that continues to be the case and he becomes the Nonno to Baby N that he never was, as a dad, to us.

She deserves more than that – and I think he knows that. I hope he knows that.

~~

Phew. This was thoroughly therapeutic.

And I realized some things coming out of writing this that I hadn’t seen before. Baby “N” continues to unite our family, a family that has had its share of brokenness at times, and it is the new beginning – the new life – we may need to band together and love this baby like no other. And I, for one, and looking more forward to it than I ever imagined.

~~

On another, lighter note, I have a date tonight!

With a guy from OK Cupid that contacted me a week or so ago. He’s 34, divorced, and seems very “like-minded” to me in some ways, and I dig that. We’ll see how it goes. I feel slightly mixed only because I actually have TWO other potential dates next week with two different guys from match.com. I guess when it rains, it pours?! Stay tuned…and wish me luck tonight!

The fourth in a series of posts on my dad, growing up with (and without) him, and our eventual reconciliation (one of many).

Just prior to our 30th birthday – an epic weekend we had been planning (my sisters and I) for months, since a) we love birthdays (especially our own! Everyone teases us that it becomes a birthday weekend, but shouldn’t it? There are three of us celebrating!) and b) it was our 30th! That’s a huge milestone, no? My dad had been planning a big dinner out in Boston with my sisters, my mom (side note – my mom and dad have since come to a better place, where they are civil and can be in the same room together, so this wasn’t a huge thing, but it did mean a lot to us that both were planning this) and my dad, prior to an epic bar crawl planned the next day.

An argument ensued. Of which I was no part of, but my sisters were. And the argument itself has not much bearing, to be honest, to the outcome of it. My sisters banded together and refused to speak to him, as he had said some of the most hurtful, painful words to my sisters, and words that should never, ever, ever be uttered from father to daughter. I couldn’t even read some of the emails or listen to the voicemails (cue not letting myself get hurt…), but what did hurt me was how much it hurt both of them.

And it made me angry because somehow I got lumped into this fight, and he didn’t speak to me either (not that I truly wanted him to…).

My divorce date passed. No call from him.

My house closing passed, no call from him.

My move date came and went, no call from him (and he had agreed to help me move to, for the record, so he knew the date…yet another broken promise).

That hurt. It felt like a slap in the face, as we’d all gotten closer to him in the last year, had let him into our lives. He was extremely supportive of my divorce, he had the defensive papa bear hat on, and was upset that Pete had ‘done this’ to me, and I appreciated it. I let him in, and I hadn’t truly done that before.

And then this.

Needless to say, our birthday celebration with dad was off. We hadn’t spoken to him for two weeks leading up to our birthday in October, and were not expecting to speak to him on our birthdays. My sisters and I were together, celebrating our birthday together, when first Jess’s cell phone rang. Dad. She didn’t answer. Then Jen’s cell phone rang. Dad. She didn’t answer. And finally, my cell phone rang. I didn’t answer.

We listened to the voicemails. He had called us at exactly our birth date and time….8:02, 8:04 and 8:06 pm. He wished us happy birthdays. I could tell he was sad, almost broken, and he may have been crying. He was at least probably drinking.

We didn’t call him back.

None of us.

The words he’d said, and the pain he’d caused was what stopped us. He hadn’t apologized. He hadn’t even tried. A phone call on our birthday wasn’t enough. We needed more.

He called us at Christmas. And on New Year’s. We didn’t answer, nor call back for the very same reason. It wasn’t enough.

Finally, this spring (2010), he reached out. He called Jen and said he was wrong, he said some very bad things, he made the biggest mistake of his life and he wanted to make it up to us. He cried.

He never cries.

And least of all, he never apologies. Ever. EVER.

So we agreed to meet at his house. Just us. No girlfriend (his), no husbands (Jess or Jen’s). Just us.

To be continued…

The third in a series of posts on my dad, growing up with (and without) him, and our eventual reconciliation (one of many).


After my parents officially divorced (a couple of years after they really separated, from what I recall) when we were 9 or 10, we didn’t see our father much. He tended to fall for the wrong women, get in trouble (fighting with them, letting them ‘take’ his money etc), and well, he’d always put them first, before us. So, when he had a girlfriend, he’d tend to disappear for awhile, or want to have us meet the latest woman in his life, something we never really wanted to do. And that would drive him farther away.

As did child support. He had a knack for finding ways out of paying child support (as measly the sum he somehow finagled his way into), disappearing, getting paid under the table so he wouldn’t have money ‘on the books’ showing how much he really had, or simply not paying.

That is something to this day that I can’t truly forget, because I can’t respect a man that won’t support his children. My mom struggled as a single parent, trying to go back to school to finish her degree when we were in middle/high school, and to put food on the table. We were on food stamps. And ‘government cheese.’ But we made it. With some help from family, and a lot of determination and willpower and God’s graces, we made it through some tough times as a family financially. My sisters and I got jobs at 14 and have never looked back. Probably why we have always, always had jobs, full-time in the summer, part-time during school, and never really taking time off for a ‘summer off’ as many of our friends did. (One of the things I wish I could have – or found a way to – do, at least in college, or before diving into full-time employment after graduating. Cie la vie.).

But, back to my father and my relationship with him. Unlike Jen, who loved him so much…in large part for who she wanted him to be, and Jess, who just got angry with him and would fight back (verbally) when he would say hurtful things to us, or push us away, I never really let myself get close enough to get hurt.

I saw what it did to Jen. Broke her heart. Over and over.

I saw what it did to Jess. Make her angry, hurt her feelings. Pissed her off.

And I just didn’t care enough to let him get close enough to hurt me or make me angry. I am sure that comes across a bit callous, but it was my defense mechanism. If I didn’t care enough, it wouldn’t hurt enough.

Fast forward to fall 2009….to be continued.

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The first in a series of posts on my dad, growing up with (and without) him, and our eventual reconciliation (one of many). Here goes…

Over the years, my dad has been in and out of our lives (my sisters and I) for as long as I can remember. My parents had us when my dad was 24 and my mom was 25 and looking back, I can’t imagine having triplets – aka insta family – at that age. Even now, at 30, I can’t quite imagine being a mother, and while that’s a post for another day, it lends some context to some of these posts on my father.

My dad is a full-blooded Italian, which comes with hot-bloodedness, stubbornness and quite honestly, some anger issues (not to say all Italians are this way, or to pigeonhole at all, because clearly I’d be insulting myself and half of my family!) as well. I don’t know that he was quite ready to have a family at his age, either, which I think lent to some of his actions as we grew up.

He was in our lives, as a father, until we were 4 or 5, and then things got hairy (from what I recall as a child that age, and from what I have been told, growing up). My parents fought quite a bit, and by the age of 9 or 10, they had divorced.

To back up a bit, my sister Jen had the closest relationship with my father among the three of us. She was daddy’s girl and in a way, I think Jess and I took that to heart and tended to pull away from him, and more towards our mom. My dad definitely favored Jen whenever we had arguments, and bottom line, I think she was just the apple of his eye, which I don’t say in a bad way at all, because they truly had a special relationship. My sister Jess and I, on the other hand, were attached to my mom’s hip, and there began somewhat of a separation between the three of us (that we’ve since rectified and now have the closest sisterhood I could ever hope for).

As we grew up, with our dad in and out of our lives throughout our childhood, it was easier and less painful for me to not become too attached to him, to not feel the love and adoration I had for my mom, for my dad. Because he would leave and not come back, sometimes for days, sometimes longer. And as a child, that’s really hard to deal with. It’s funny (not ha-ha funny) that as I write this, I struggle to recall some of the turn of events that led to my parents divorce….except for one particular instance that I will post on tomorrow, likely in a protected post (just leave a comment with your email address and I’ll share it with you).

But what I do remember most distinctly, beyond that, is it was less painful to just ‘like’ my dad than to ‘love’ him, and to this day, I feel that way towards my father, for fear of being hurt, and protectively as well, as I know how many times he’s let down my sister Jen or my family, in general. In a way, it’s sad to have a father that you don’t allow yourself to love, but on the other hand, it’s afforded me the ability to maintain a good friendship with him now, which is, in my opinion, the best possible outcome.