A Tale of Two Fathers

The True Story of One Man and His Two Daughters Born 42 Years Apart

My memoir recounts two tales of fatherhood, one that began in 1968 when the Viet Nam War was raging, Bobby and Martin were assassinated, and manhood was modeled after Mad Men’s Don Draper. The other in 2010 when the Middle East was aflame, Barack Obama was the first black president, and I suddenly found myself in a role not unlike Jay Pritchett, Modern Family’s aging patriarch.

Lilla, my first daughter, was fathered by an ill-at-ease, immature twenty-five-year-old who took flight before his baby’s delivery; a man who vanished at the faintest whiff of poopy diapers; who believed his newborn would only get in the way of his good times.

Gracelyn, my second daughter, is parented by a spirited, self-aware sexagenarian who caught his newborn child at delivery; a man who reads “Goodnight Moon” to her at bedtime; who joyfully joins in family dances to the music of Prairie Home Companion.

This is the story of how, and why, a man changed from feckless father to devoted dad. And how America changed with him.