Ten simple rules for dating my teenage daughter

I made friends with the homeless people in the park because their level of motivation and engagement in society matched mine more closely than anyone else I could find.My mother occasionally tried expressing to me that I should cut her a break because she now had to be both my mother and my father.When I heard that my father had died, I collapsed in tears on the living room floor.I wasn’t crying because he wasn’t there right then.When I thought about the part of a typical wedding reception where the groom dances with his mother and the bride dances with her father, I seriously considered not having a reception at all.I came home crying one night, revealing to my fiancé that through all of our wedding planning, part of me had been dreading having a wedding without my father there.We went to Macy’s, and I got not only a nice dress for the service, but enough black separates to wear for an as-yet-undetermined mourning period.That period transitioned so seamlessly into my adolescent punk phase that I’m not sure when or if I decided it was over, but either way, I wore all black pretty much every day for almost a decade.

The idea of survivor’s guilt isn’t just about feeling unjustly lucky to have lived while someone else died; it’s guilt for going on without them, guilt for changing and growing and becoming a person that they never knew.I stopped wearing all black at some point in college, but a part of me held onto that sadness that had kept my father close.But planning a wedding, being deliriously happy and in love, there was no denying that I was moving on.“Never be embarrassed by your ability to make just the right sentence, with all of the exact words you wanted and needed.” By the time that letter made its way across the country to our mailbox in New York, he was dead.Those last words of fatherly praise and advice suddenly became as precious as Moses’ tablets; words from beyond, all there would ever be.

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