I sued my dad.

My parents were divorced when I was three years old. I know only one side of the story – my mother’s side. According to my mother, my dad – after getting married and going through the arduous process of adopting two children (my brother and I) – decided he was not ready to be a husband or a father and wanted “out” of everything. My dad, an airline pilot and fairly well off, took his money and his toys and left us on our own. My mom, a nurse, struggled to provide for us.

I believe he sent some support money at first, but that soon stopped coming. I recall my mother looking for him, contacting his parents, trying to get financial assistance, but didn’t have much luck. Instead, she sold our house and we moved into subsidized housing in order to survive. I don’t recall this being very traumatic or horrible, it was actually kind of cool moving to apartments that had a park and a ton of kids. I am sure my mother felt differently.

My mother moved from nursing to real estate to nursing administration, to recruiting, to medical sales, and eventually back to nursing. She worked nights, long hours, crazy shifts – whatever it took to provide for us. I doubt she made ¼ of what I do today at her best, and she definitely worked harder than I ever have.

Immediately after my mom died (and by immediate I mean literally within weeks) my brother and I hired a lawyer and sued my dad for back child support. We won easily and he was forced to pay for all of the past back support he failed to provide when we were growing up. We ended up settling for a cash amount instead of garnishing wages and dragging it out, but as I understand it, the amount was fairly financially devastating to him.

And also, I donated most of my money to the American Cancer Society, just to stick it to him even more. I am mean like that. I cannot say that I am proud of what I did, but I think my dad needed to learn a few things, and maybe, just maybe, this opened his eyes a bit. Perhaps not though – as he really is an ass.