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jca2's avatar

Can you tell us about your dad on this Fathers' Day?

Asked by jca2 (16471points) 1 month ago

I’m watching a news show and the host is interviewing people about their fathers. Most people are saying glowing things about their dads. Loving, funny, smart, affectionate, hard working, etc. Of course, not all dads are like that and not everyone has or had a great relationship with their dad.

Only if you want to, please tell us about your dad. What was he like? Did he teach you any lessons?

My dad was not around for much of my childhood, except for visits for birthdays and holidays. I wasn’t close to him and from what I understand, he didn’t pay child support and my mother struggled when I was a baby. Fortunately for her, she had a great career and she seemed to handle it ok but from what she said, when I was a baby it was very tough. My father and mother got divorced and not long after, he got married to another woman so I have half siblings who I am not close to. I don’t badmouth my father, I’m more just indifferent.

I offer my story to show that I’m not necessarily looking for glowing stories lol. Whatever you care to share, please feel free.

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21 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

My Dad was a truly lovely guy. His integrity and generosity of spirit were absolute, and spending time with him was wonderful. He taught me how to sail, and how to build stuff, and that only if a job requires the use of a penis can it be called a “man’s job”. He was an engineer, so he helped me learn how to figure out, as a small person, how to do stuff. When I bought my first house, he bought me power tools. When I bought a boat, he helped me outfit it.

There are a thousand lovely stories. He passed in 2006, I still miss him fiercely.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

My dad would explore most of Alberta by car with me.
His secret, fishing spot had the biggest jackfish.
Although It is out of the way and would take hours to drive to, it had good memories.

He tried to keep me fed. It was one of the main reasons that I grew so tall.

He died 2 years ago. I will see him in the past again. He never smoked and rarely drank. The only times that he drank was at hockey games. Where my job was to help him get passed the two beer maximum. By giving him my two beer allowance because I never drank.

LifeQuestioner's avatar

My dad was a history major in college and I think he would have been happier if he could have worked in a field that involved more research. He ended up taking a teaching job because back then, in the 50s, teachers were in demand. However, he ended up meeting my mom, who taught at the same school he did and they got married. So call it fate if you like.

He was never all that happy about his teaching job, but he did satisfy his love for history and such by becoming a genealogist. And this is back in the day before and spitting into a tube and shipping it off somewhere.

He had four of us kids any worked hard all his life to take care of us. He had a great sense of humor and especially loved puns, something in which I have followed in his footsteps.

Sadly, he passed away a little over 3 years ago so it was a little hard to answer this question, but I did and I’m glad.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I’m very conflicted writing this.

My father didn’t love me, and when he finally found out I was gay, he disowned me.

He’s dead, and I’m glad.

Fuck him.

LifeQuestioner's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake (((HUGS))) You deserved better!

smudges's avatar

@Hawaii_ Jake We love and support you!

Brian1946's avatar


Did your dad ever argue with your mother about her antisemitism?

filmfann's avatar

My Dad loved gadgets, big band music, and racing. Last week he was inducted into the West Coast Motorsport and Stock Car Hall Of Fame, which would have made him immensely proud. He would also be elated that all four of his kids attended the ceremony.

Forever_Free's avatar

As my Dad would say, He forgot more than I will ever know.
A Veteran
A Family Man
One hard worker
Could figure anything out
Helped everyone
Ruled the household firmly but justly
Taught great life lessons
Loved Music
Loved his Family
Always provided for his Family
Great Cook
Laughed a lot
Had great friends
Would tell you exactly how it was (good or bad)
One of a kind
Miss him everyday.

canidmajor's avatar

@Brian1946, my mother was an equal opportunity bigot across the board. Ugh. They didn’t argue about things like that in front of us kids, but every time she would go on a rant that he could hear his donations to whatever group increased dramatically. (The NAACP, for example, appreciated him lots. The local JCC director had a kid in my class, she mentioned to me how grateful they all were for my Dad’s generosity.)

gondwanalon's avatar

My father died from leukemia at age 32 when I was 4. I remember his strong hands that directed “the little boy” (he called me) wherever I needed to go. Like into the shower, out of the shower, going for a walk, to the vomit bag on an airplane, etc. I have several faded memories of him like at breakfast, at his dentist office, taking naps and seeing him in his coffin. He must have been a brilliant man as he had licenses to practice dentistry in Wisconsin and California by the time he was 22 years old. How did he do that? Graduate from high school when he was 13 or 14?

I always wonder how his strong hands would have guided me through my life if he survived leukemia.

hat's avatar

Vietnam vet, manly man, conservative Republican who had a year-long affair, then walked out on my mother, me (11 years old), and my sister (5 years old), sending the family into poverty.

Had a rocky relationship with him for many years, before we started to really reconcile and get closer just in time for him to be struck with rapidly-progressing Parkinson’s. He was young, but it hit his brain pretty hard, and I lost him a couple of years ago for good.

He was an infuriating man who I loved immensely, and I still miss him. My relationship with him gave me the opportunity to learn how to meet people where they are and appreciate what they are able to give and what they are not. I know that he loved me the best he could. None of us are perfect, and I feel this in my soul more every day.

cookieman's avatar

My dad, for much of my life with him, was pretty great. Spent lots of time with me. Went to every baseball game (and practice), cub scouts, school event. He taught me about music, working with your hands, housework, airplanes, cars, and sports.

He was on an aircraft carrier in Vietnam, worked in aviation his whole life. Travelled much of the world while in the Navy. Was so much smarter than he ever gave himself credit for. He sang in a couple blues bands. Most of all, he was loyal to me and my mother to a fault — or until he wasn’t.

Which brings me to his only major flaw. My mother had lots of emotional and mental health issues. She was abusive, unpredictable, a constant liar and refused to get any help ever. Despite this, my father never stood up to her and rarely protected me. Ultimately, he grew bitter and disillusioned and threw me under the bus so he wouldn’t lose her. This, despite her emotionally abusing him for years. He just couldn’t do it.

Sadly, he died of cancer at 62, months after he finally retired.

seawulf575's avatar

My dad was a mixed bag. When I was young, until I was about 11, he was a friendly and personable guy that showed he loved me in a number of ways. He started off as a pastor until about the time I was born then went back to college and got a degree in architectural engineering. He then worked as an architect for many years. At one point, for some reason I still don’t understand, he fell apart. He got paranoid, suspicious of everyone and everything (except me for some strange reason) and he stopped being a positive influence in my life.

He refused to admit there was ever anything wrong with him. We tried getting him help but, as with all mental illness, help is only good if you can convince the person they need it. He ran our family into the ground, eventually resulting in my mom filing for divorce when I turned 18 (how she held on that long speaks to her grace and determination). I moved out of the apartment, dad was ejected from the apartment and ended up living in a tent in the state park.

I kept in touch with him a little while I was in the Navy. When I got out of the Navy he was at least living in an apartment. A fleabag place, but better than a tent. He was working menial jobs, settling on driving a cab which he did until he died many, many years later. When I got out of the Navy, I brought back my soon-to-be first wife. I tried to get some sort of relationship going with him again. It was cautious, to be sure. When my now ex was 8 months pregnant with our first child, we asked him to come over for dinner and a visit. It became clear the mental illness was still there. He insulted my wife, telling her she was fat, insulted our choice of names for the upcoming baby (I won’t tell you how), and related how he hadn’t been sleeping well because “they” put a manhole cover in the road and “they” drove over it all night to keep him awake. I asked if they had just done road work. He said no. The implication of this is that 25 years before, when they did the road and put the manhole cover in, they purposely put it in loosely, knowing “they” would eventually manipulate him into his current apartment and then “they” could drive over it all night to torture him.

I ended up telling him that he needed help. I told him if he got help I would be there with him 100% of the way. But if he decided not to get help I didn’t want him getting in touch again. He tried calling a couple weeks later just to chat and I asked if he had gotten help. He said there was nothing wrong with him. So I reiterated that our relationship was pretty well over. We didn’t talk for several years until he had an issue with his heart that almost killed him. We started getting things patched up again, but he never did seek help and continued to struggle along on menial jobs.

He eventually committed suicide.

Despite all this, I still loved him, still hoped we could make his life better and to this day I hold no ill will to him. I just hope he found the peace in death that he missed in life. Happy Father’s Day, dad.

Caravanfan's avatar

My dad taught me how to live and how to die.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Vietnam helicopter pilot, currently age 80.
He never loved me and has never willingly spoken to me.
Essentially he was screwing my mom and her friend both, my mom got pregnant and he tried to force her to abort by flying her in his plane to another state.
My half-siblings said he doesnt say I love you and was an ‘alcoholic so I’m not missing anything.’
I hope he passes peacefully and other than that I have no interest in him.
He’s a very vocal Democrat, too.

smudges's avatar

I wrote this when I was in my 20’s. It’s childlike, but it means a lot to me. He passed away in 2005 at the age of 81. There’s so much more to him than this, like him having two PhDs, but this stuff is what made him Dad.

Memories of Dad

Taking us skiing on weekends,
making things in your shop,
keeping the house clean when Mom’s gone,
fixing us ‘goldens’ with pop.

Flying to California,
camping out in tents,
helping me with my animals,
letting us paint the fence.

I’ll always keep these memories
of the things you used to do,
because they’re what I think of
when I think of you. ❤️️

Demosthenes's avatar

I know it’s common to have a complicated relationship with your dad. With any parent, really, but dads do seem to be the ones who are more likely to be (in whatever sense) unavailable. Which only motivates me all the more to not be like that, if I ever do have children. I’m fortunate that it’s never been the case with my dad.

My dad was born in Mexico, came to the U.S. at a young age, was thrown into an English-only environment despite not speaking a word but came to learn it and master it in a relatively short period of time. He went on to study business and economics at Stanford and met my mom in grad school. He ended up finding quite a lot of material success in the financial and tech sectors that allowed me and my siblings to have a very comfortable childhood. While he was never dirt poor, his parents were barely making a living in a troubled part of Mexico and that is what motivated them to leave. I think of my dad as always having been a hard worker and dedicated to his work, even if his immigrant story is not exactly typical. My dad has always had an extroverted, outgoing personality, much like my mom, and can make friends with just about anyone.

In many senses my dad and I are not very alike: I couldn’t have gone into a field more different than the one he chose, I’m not getting married and starting a family, I’m quiet and aloof, and unlike my twin brother (whom I often see as being much more like him), I’m small in stature and gay. That said, despite our obvious differences, my dad has always been one of my biggest supporters. On the surface he may sometimes appear to be all business and corporate, but he and I share a similar curiosity about the world and love of learning (he’s the type who reads about physics for fun), and I’ve never doubted for even a second that he loves me and will always support me. I can see it in his eyes how happy he is any time I come home and visit.

He’s in his mid-60s now, he retired when I was in college, and spends most of his time with my mom at the house I grew up in (that he helped expand and design) and he puts as much into his hobbies (including woodworking and furniture building) as he did into his job. My life has in some ways been similar to his and in other ways has been nothing like it, but he (along with my mom) absolutely serves as a role model. I’d be honored to be a father like him.

kruger_d's avatar

Dad is 85 and still living on the family farm with Mom. At 18 he took over his folks’ farm when his Dad passed and still managed to get a teaching degree and taught math for many year and tutored kids after he retired. He is fairly stoic but can be warm and personable. He is one of those people that animals (and maybe people, too) know instinctively to trust.

jonsblond's avatar

My father is 89 and was an only child. He grew up in the house he was born in in central Illinois. His mother was a teacher who began teaching in a one room school house. His father was an engineer for the railroad. They could all ride the train for free so my father would often take the train to Chicago to catch a Cubs game. He didn’t spend more than $5 for a ticket to the game and a hot dog and soda. He longed to play ball with his friends after school but his stern mother forced him to stay home and take piano lessons. He often cried, alone in his bedroom.

He went to college at the University of Illinois, then transferred to San Diego and graduated from San Diego State. He dreamed of being a baseball player, musician or pilot but ended up marrying his high school sweetheart and working for the IRS. He and his wife had two daughters, then they divorced. My father met my mother and they married, having five children between the two of them. Then I was born. At this time my father was an auditor for Medicare.

By the time I was a teenager he was in upper management. I didn’t see him much because he worked long hours and often traveled for business. When we did spend time together it was quality time. We lived in Las Vegas and he would take my mom and I on business trips all over California, Nevada and Arizona and we would travel by car. These roadtrips framed my life. They showed me how to take time and enjoy my surroundings.

I hit the Dad lottery. I’m now his caretaker and he is my best friend. I will always be grateful.

jonsblond's avatar

@gondwanalon That is both touching and heartbreaking. <3

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