Steve Jobs' Daughter on Last Days With Father: 'He Was So Apologetic'
Lisa Brennan-Jobs stopped by Today on Wednesday to discuss her unconventional relationship with her late father, Steve Jobs.
"It took a long time, and I think it was really cathartic and in some ways really joyful to go back and spend time with my young parents," said Brennan-Jobs about reliving her childhood to write her memoir, Small Fry.
She added that while her father was famous, her story is relatable. "There is this really famous person in this story, but I think in many ways this coming-of-age story about a girl growing up in California in the '80s and '90s is also a universal story."
Co-host Hoda Kotb asked Brennan-Jobs to reflect on tough memories shared in the memoir, including when she and her mother had to call Jobs to beg for money. "I think I was kind of a tough, little scrappy soul and I think sometimes you save things from your past that you don't quite understand," Brennan-Jobs said. "They're like little boxes and you preserve them for later when you can unwrap them and understand what they meant and I think this whole book was a way to understand."
Small Fry details other difficult moments in her life including Jobs' denial that he was her father. "I think that some of the stories were really difficult," she said. "I remember feeling just profound love and admiration because we did have joyful, tender, dear moments together, you know. He made the decision to come back and get to know me after he hadn't really been around when I was younger. But then also I must have felt so confused and angry. I bet it was some combination of these things."
Brennan-Jobs revealed that the most loving thing her father ever did for her was come back and try to get to know her after years of abandonment. "One day he came to a performance," she added. "My boyfriend was in a play and it was freezing cold and he didn't have a sweater and only he and I can know how cold that night was and he didn't complain and he sat through the whole thing cause he knew how important it was to me."
The writer also reflected on her relationship with Jobs toward the end of his life. "At the very end he was so apologetic about the times we had missed together and the thing he kept on saying was, 'I owe you one and I'm so sorry,'" she said.
She was then asked if she has forgiven her father for their tumultuous relationship. "Not at the time. I mean, I felt a little bit paralyzed," she said. "I understand him more and I understand myself more."
"I lost the chance to add more friendship with him, which is what I told him in the book is that I wished that we'd had more time together and I think he wished that, too, because we did like each other and when we spent time together and we got along, it was kinda great, so I wish there had been more time," she said.
Brennan-Jobs also responded to criticisms of her book by her father's wife, Laurene Powell Jobs, and sister, Mona Simpson. "I was thinking about it and I've been written about since I was three years old," she began. "So I know that it can be really difficult to read about your own life and your own experiences — slights of it — in someone else's words. It can be hurtful, but when I was thinking about writing this book, I realized that I believe people have the right to tell their own story as honestly and accurately as they can and so in this case, you know, this book is about so much more than my father, although of course it involves my complicated family, but it's also a coming-of-age story about me."
Watch the full interview here.