It was late 1996 and my marriage and family life I dreamt of was ending. My wife of 8 years and mother of our 5 small children was gone. Our children had borne the brunt of this. The next few years of my life were filled with court dates, forensic accountants and custody evaluators.
It’s that time of the year when my kids start their difficult process of figuring out what to buy me for Father’s Day. They get together and discuss if I have said anything that might give them an idea or if I have hinted at anything. Same routine, different year.
What happened on 9/11 was an unparalleled tragedy. The new Freedom Tower, 9/11 memorial, and entire project are unparalleled greatness… so the question that came to my mind was whether this level of greatness is possible without an equal level of tragedy.
The urgency I felt when my own children were suffering, unproductive and unhappy was greater than keeping my own job. This was a real creative problem unlike anything I knew before because the solutions are not linear. I had significant problems occur every day. They had to be solved.
I got my get-out-of-jail-free card by just following the advice of the famous philosopher, Nike: “Just do it.” I couldn’t quit my job. There was no one else to do it, so I just put my head down and worked my ass off all over the place. I needed to be a dad, and dads do things with children that are perfectly good and are perfectly acceptable to me.