My dad had heart surgery a couple of weeks back. The latest inreplacement body parts for him came in the form of a heart valve.He was on my mind for days.

But that wasn't always the case. My mother picked me up and leftwhen I was just a toddler. I never heard from him until the eve ofmy high school graduation. I didn't actually meet him until halfwaythrough college. And those first few conversations were stilted,gap-filled exercises in getting past “complete strangers” tosomething resembling father and son.

And while it took years for us to get here, I'd be lying if Itold you I didn't still harbor quiet feelings of bitterness at achildhood robbed of the family I thought I should've had. I stillget pissed off when I think about how different my life would betoday if I'd been able to grow up with my own father and while Ilove him dearly, part of me will probably never forgive him for it.(Or my mother, for that matter, but that's another story.)

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