The one about a father and son relationship...

I’m fortunate for the relationship I have with my father, but sometimes I wish it was deeper. We talk a lot about politics, sports, food - even my mental health, though we only skim the surface when it comes to anything family related, particularly my grandfather, an almost mythical figure. Unlike my other grandparents, my dad’s dad wasn’t around a lot during my childhood. Most of his belongings were boxed, stacked and stored in my basement. Sometimes he would drop in, smelling like stale cigarette smoke, and take me shopping for CDs at HMV. I knew he was separated from my grandmother, but little else. I later found out from a cousin that my grandfather spent close to a decade in prison. That probably explains the boxes. I scraped together tidbits of his story that read like a movie script: gambling addict, prominent businessman, white collar crime, escape from prison, more jail, cellmates with a famous gangster, drowning survivor. All of this was later corroborated by my uncle. The more I learned, the more tempting, yet harder it became to broach the topic with my dad. I assume it was traumatizing for him. The story was in the news as he was launching his own career. It broke his family apart. I’ve always wanted to know more, I’m just not sure my dad wants to go there. There are other things we haven’t talked about, such as my parents’ separation. It’s also hard for me to bring up, but maybe, at this point, it’s up to me to start the conversation. We’re both not getting younger. My dad has always been one to teach through his actions. There weren’t many ‘son, this is how you do this’ conversations. There were no heart-to-hearts. I only remember him crying once. He might have been slightly emotionally distant, but he wasn’t an absent father. He worked crazy hours, yet he always made time for my sister and I. He also never pushed an opinion or career path on me, allowing me to form my own identity, which I’m grateful for. He continues to support me everyday. But I want my relationship with my son to be a little different. I want to be able to talk to him about anything and I’ve already started that dialogue, even if it’s just ‘how did that episode of The Wiggles make you feel?’ It’s important that parents and kids learn to share their feelings to avoid future misunderstanding or resentment. No relationship is perfect, and I have it pretty good with my dad. Hopefully one day he’ll open up and tell me more about my grandfather and how he ended up in jail with a notorious mobster.

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