Author Eric Puchner published an essay in GQ chronicling his relationship with his father:

This is not about forgiveness. I still think about that day at the beach, or the fact that my father abandoned me for so long—years with hardly a phone call—and my heart clenches with rage. We live in the age of forgiveness, of bailouts, of doing our best to move on. Too often these gestures have only to do with creating a nice tidy narrative, one we can wrap up and hide away somewhere and promise ourselves will never happen again. We choose the myth over reality every time. It’s the Californian—which is to say, the American—way.

Contrasting Tom Junod’s father profile, Puchner’s essay focuses on the inequities.  It highlights just how friggin’ important those early years really are. Remind me to read this again when I have a teenage kid just to remember what’s really important.

By the end I had more loot than I could carry, and yet my father persisted, giving me for once what I wanted, collecting a bounty he didn’t have to buy.

The things we all wanted from our fathers are the things that can’t be bought. And the things we need to give to our sons are the same, our time, not our wallets.