Sometimes when one is toiling on a project for 3+ years it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture. But then we receive emails from people who come to our site and feel the need to share their own personal stories and it puts things back in perspective once more. Such is the email pasted below from a man named Tim. Read on…
The trailer inspired me to write to you share a little of my story.
As a little kid I remember precious few moments with my father. I remember him lovingly changing my diapers and carrying me on his back. I remember hugging him and feeling his scruffy skin on his face, even after he just shaved, oh how I loved to rub my face against his. I remember waking up late at night to find him in the kitchen reading. I remember seeing movies like Superman. Clark Kent always reminded me a lot of my father. He is handsome, but it was hidden behind thick nerdy glasses. He is super intelligent and slightly slouches because he is 6 ft. tall.
My father was a successful doctor who owned his own private practice in California. Unfortunately, according to my grandparents, his tragic mistake was that he relied on my mother to handle his finances. She was addicted to shopping. My grandmother said, “he (my dad) should have grabbed all of my mother’s credit cards and cut them in half.” He was pushed to the brink of bankruptcy and had to sell his practice and move back to NY to work at a hospital for a high paying job. The family was all set to move to New York. However, my mother refused to move to NY. The relationship between my mother and father deteriorated. It was after the 2nd Grade which I didn’t see much of my father anymore, except occasionally in the summer. I still don’t remember seeing him that much.
A bitter divorce and intense custody battle ensued, I think sometime around the 4th grade for me. According to my grandparents, it was clear that my mother was unfit to take care of us. I know that she loved us but that she didn’t have the energy and time. According to my grandmother, she had extramarital affairs that appeared in the court proceeding. I was too young to realize anything was wrong with my mother. My grandmother said that it was clear that my older brother, Matthew who is 2 years older than me, and I should have been given to my father. At the time my older brother, Jonathan who is 4 years older than me, and sister, Sarah who is 6 years older than me, were living with my father. I just loved my mom and was afraid of my older brother, Jonathan. Matthew and I constantly argued and fought with Jonathan. Near the end of the divorce court proceedings, Matthew and I were brought into the judge. I remember being very scared. I would do whatever Matthew said because he was my older brother who I spent the most time with. He was my best friend. I just wanted to be wherever he would be. The judge asked us where we wanted to stay. We told him that we wanted to stay with our mom. The decision was made for us to stay in California. Although, it seemed wrong, if I had to do it over again, I would still choose to live in California. I needed to grow up and learn for myself.
I would see my dad and grandparents during the summer in NY. It wasn’t till I was a teenager that I realized that my mother was a little irresponsible. I remember arguing with her over the way she was raising my younger brother and sisters. I became their primary babysitter. She would feed the children junk food. I was tired of her broken promises. She promised to change but never did. One summer, in the sophomore year of my high school I visited my grandparents. They loved me very much, and they offered to let me move to NY and live with them. I was nervous. My brothers said that it was a good idea. I finally made the decision to leave all my friends and school and move to NY. I wasn’t that scared because I moved so much as a child growing up with my mother that I was used to new places and meeting new friends. So I did it. I refused to return to California. My mother gave up custody of me to my grandparents. I still love my mother and I always will but I moved to NY to create a new life for myself. If I stayed, I imagine that I would just be ordinary.
People might wonder when I moved to NY, why I didn’t live with my father and step mother in their home in Queens, NY. The decision was that my dad worked all the time and my grandparents could do a better job in supporting and nurturing me then he could. After living with my grandparents for several years and growing up, I was able to eliminate the negative attitudes and beliefs that were implanted by my mother against my father. I finally developed a decent relationship with my father. I now respect him and love him very much. I recognize that he wasn’t the best dad compared to others, however he was responsible and sent us child support and made a lot of effort to connect with us. He is one of the most disciplined men that I know. He is a very powerful spiritual leader in his church and he is very honorable and decent human being doing great work by healing the sick as a doctor.
The only sad thing is that my two older brothers and sister do not have a loving relationship like I do with my dad. I am not saying that mine is perfect. I connect with my dad a couple times a month when he visits my grandmother. We discuss his favorite topics: preventative medicine and diet. Studying health is one of my hobbies too. My brothers do have friendly relationship but it is not a deep one. I don’t know if they ever will.
The only other most disciplined man I know, besides my father, is my grandfather. It was my grandfather who actually became my “real father” from 1999 to the day he passed away in 2007. He was the one that taught me the instincts to be strong, work hard, to be responsible, to work first and play later, and to guard my time as the most precious thing. As my career develops as a leadership coach, I look to my grandfather as the prime example of leadership. I constantly reference him in my speeches. I have numerous stories with him that are funny and amusing. We had an excellent relationship.
Thanks Dana, for allowing me to write this. Good luck with the film. Can’t wait to see it.
Thank you, Tim, for sharing.
If, like Tim, you have a fatherhood story to share, we would love to hear it. Let’s keep the conversation going!