One Easter Sunday when I was about 5 years old, my dad took my older brothers and me to the park. We were getting antsy after dinner at my aunt’s, bored by older relatives chatting interminably. There was a pond in the park, and my brothers were walking along the edge, throwing rocks into the water. Eager to imitate them, I reached for a stone. Somehow I lost my balance and tumbled in. (Luckily it was the shallow end.) A stranger hoisted me out. He carried me, soaked and shivering, to Dad, who had been heading back to the car, oblivious to the drama.
Dad’s response: first he yelled at my brothers for not watching me. Then he got us home and dressed me in dry clothes—including, my mother would later discover, my brother’s underwear.
From Sunshine to Storm
That was my father—a man who genuinely loved his family but didn’t always know how to show it. He was quick to lay blame when things went wrong and wasn’t afraid to raise his voice or his hand in anger. His sudden swings turned happy memories into painful ones—the unpredictability adding to the hurt. Like the family dinner that ended with cherry pie for dessert—and me being slapped and sent to my room for not eating the crust. The bitter, not the sweet, lingered longer.
Later my mother told me that when she announced she was expecting me, he ranted instead of rejoiced. He said they already had too many kids, and he hadn’t planned on another; he accused her of having an affai...
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