Though never one to be green with envy, I am often jealous of some of my Hollywood gal pals like Jessica Simpson and Beyoncé -- not for the glamorous gowns, sexy romances or all their money, awards and fame.
It's for the simplest things. The comfort of having their families so involved in the day-to-day of their careers as they help them navigate the slippery slopes of stardom. Even Sandy Bullock's father runs her production company Fortis Films with her sisters. How tedious yet reassuring, soothing and calming that must be to know there is someone behind you in this fickle and often phony Hollywood game who is really looking out for your best interests, not their own.
As an adult, I am surrounded by the finest things in life, although I am often haunted by a sense of loneliness because today as I sign my mortgage for my new loft and begin to pack for a trip to Africa as a Youth AIDS ambassador I realize all the dreams I had as a child are coming true, but I would never have realized those dreams without the sacrifices of my father. It has been two years since Richard Bloch left me and this planet. However, every day through all the ups and downs of my "glamorous life," his spirit, advice and even some of his best and worst traits live within his son. Far too often I find my life to be reminiscent of a cheesy TV movie complete with a soundtrack that plays in my mind. This week's theme is "The Living Years" by Mike and the Mechanics. When this song was a hit and I was a child I couldn't begin to fathom the poignancy and prominence the lyrics would hold for me as an adult.
"For every generation blames the one before and all their frustrations come beating on your door. I know that I am a prisoner to all my father held so dear. I know that I am a hostage to all his hopes and fears … say it loud, and say it clear, you can listen as well as you can hear. It's too late when we die to admit we don't see eye to eye. I wish I would've told him in the living years." Fortunately, for many of my friends and me, our proud fathers got to see and experience many of our successes, basically that's the payoff for all their sacrifices. As they moved to the suburbs, to a house they couldn't afford to commute for an hour to work their butts off for us to live the American Dream.
As kids we adore them and as teens we abhor them. My adolescence was a state of constant defiance. Despite that fact, I am so glad I stopped fighting the future and took advantage of the time as an adult to share my life with my father.
One commonality we all have is a father. Some raise us, some leave us, some help us and some scar us, but everyone I know has a story about theirs even if it is that he wasn't there … genetically he was, and that DNA imprint alone can never disappear. They make us crazy and impose all kinds of stupid rules that seem totally uncool but they fund our lives with cash and experiences. So let's face it, the money part is a lot easier to accept especially as a kid, though as I got older it's the long drawn out stories that seem to have had the greatest value.
The older I get, the more sense and sensitivity I have for those of us whose fathers are not with us. There will be no breakfast in bed. Father's Day for us is a time of reflection and memories, would have, could have, should have. This year when you buy him that tie or or give him that card, just know that all he really wants is to spend some time with you. Skip the GPS. Give him a smile, it will fit. Throw in a longer hug -- it's free. Make his day! Tell him you love him, and better yet tell him you respect him or that he's your hero. There are some things this tinsel town shop-a-holic has learned you just can't buy and they're priceless. The first gift your father gives you is life, and it is a circle. No matter how rich or how poor, whether you are the folks next door, Brad and Angelina, Ben and Jen, Tom and Katie, or Will and Jada, one thing is for certain. Life goes on and the circle will turn and the parent will become like the child, and let me tell you payback is a bitch! As I began paying for dinners and trips and driving the car, it allowed my father to become my best friend. Because he knew the tried and true me with all the flaws, through all my mistakes, my happiness was all what mattered, not my financial status, or my sexual proclivity or even that I can be a cranky, controlling, whiney bitch.
Love was always the answer, and when that time came for him to leave us I got to show him just how much I cared and honored him. He had always been active and vibrant whether hanging at a photo shoot with John Travolta and me, or having a dance at a Hollywood gala with Fran Drescher, or just golfing with his geriatric homeboys. He loved life, and the quality of his life. And I can't count the times he said to me, "If I can't golf, and live with dignity … I don't want to live." There would be no wheelchairs, or life support for this talkative man on the go. (The apple did not fall far from the tree, obviously). So when he suffered a massive stroke, and the doctor said there was no hope for a normal recovery, there would be no more golf, he would be wheelchair-bound and probably would not be able to speak or feed himself I realized as much as I needed him and I didn't want to let go, it wasn't about me and what I wanted. I knew I must honor his wishes and give back his greatest gift to me, unconditional, unselfish love and dignity.
So as the circle of life begins, he helped bring me into this world, to take my first breath, and as the circle continues he helped me to become the man I am. I realize my greatest gift would be as the circle was completed as I laid in his bed we took every last breath together and that comfort will be with me forever. In those last few minutes he couldn't speak but he could hear my every word, and he tried to squeeze me to let me know he heard, I was suddenly flooded with so much information, I quickly knew so much about him and myself that I never understood -- words just can't explain. There was no pain, just love. From my one, my only father.
I guess my friend Luther Vandross' song says what is really the best gift for Father's Day: "Back when I was a child before life removed all the innocence my father would lift me high and dance with my mother and I, then spin me around until I fell asleep. Then, up the stairs, he would carry me, and I knew for sure I was loved. If I could get another chance, another walk, another dance with him I'd play a song that would never ever end. How I would love, love, love to dance with my father again." I love you daddy, happy Father's Day.
Go here to visit Phillip Bloch's website: http://www.phillipbloch.com/index.html