Category Archives: father

Dads

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DSCN1081I live with a pretty great dad. He’s so great that sometimes I forget that not all dads are like this. Even though we now have an empty nest, this dad stays in touch daily with his children. He shares jokes and stories and texts to show he is thinking about them and to let them know he is there whenever they need him. Like me, he has had to learn diplomacy when often what we really want to do is rush into a situation they are dealing with and take over, not because we don’t think they can handle it but because that is what we do as parents.  Dads, like Moms, know that parenting never stops.

Dads sometimes get a bad rap. Often when we hear the word “dad” it is joined with negative words like “deadbeat” or “authoritarian”. But just like motherhood, fatherhood does not come with a training manual. My own husband grew up where only women tended to babies and children so changing a diaper was uncharted territory as was bottle feeding a baby. But he was willing to jump in and do it if it meant more time spent with his children. I recall joining the first baby sitting co-op I was in and sitting around with other mothers who commented on how devoted my husband was with our children. I jokingly asked “aren’t all new dads, this is the 90’s after all!” My comment was met with incredulous silence as they looked at each other and then one of them said “no, it’s not”.

That’s the moment I realized how lucky my children were. They not only had a dad who was a good provider they had a dad who would prefer to spend all of his spare time with them. We took our children everywhere with us because we were a family but also because we lived far from our extended family and we didn’t trust our babies with anyone else but ourselves (no offense to the amazing women in my babysitting co-ops!) What that did was expose my children to a myriad of life situations like music festivals, sporting events, camping and road trips exploring art and nature. And lots of time with their hard working dad.sunset-934865_1280

I have been fortunate to grow up around some pretty great dads although I lost my own when I was 17. I was given a gift however. I had always felt as a child that  I could not please my dad or make him proud of me for who I was. But the summer I was 16 found the two of us home alone together for two weeks as my older siblings left for school and jobs and my younger siblings traveled with my mom. Suddenly we had common ground and things to talk about. I confided in him about teenage joys and concerns for the first time and he listened. Little did we know that was to be his last summer. He was a good provider to his family so we always had food and a nice home and clothes. But this was a different thing. This was his time and his attention. After his death I could not have been more grateful to have had those two weeks to myself.

I then had the great fortune to have another man step in to be a father figure. A beloved uncle with whom I was blessed to spend more years with and who always had time for me and my siblings and then for our husbands, wives and children. He was the consummate dad, full of life and wicked humor and love, love, love. It was because of his example that I learned what qualities would make a good husband and a great father. We lost him last year in his very august elder years but were lucky to have a had a strong father figure in our adult years. Not only my children but my nieces and nephews have some pretty great dads as do my cousins children and my friends as well.

silhouette-1082129_1280But now I look at my children’s dad as we grow older. Our hair is getting grey and we have aches and pains that were not there 10 or even 5 years ago. Our children are adults now and parenting becomes an ever evolving thing.  There are times we want them to listen to what we say even as we realize they may or may not. We worry over them. This great dad still jumps into action whenever he is needed; at our son’s wedding he was full of pride and joy and was on hand for whatever task needed to be addressed; when our daughter moved to her new place, he was the first to schedule the U-Haul. He showed up with his tools and ideas to help her furnish her own little nest.  He will always be a pretty great dad not matter what age they are. And for that I am grateful.

 

Confessions of a Baby Boomer Mom – Eulogy

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The patriarch of our family passed away two weeks ago. It was not much of a surprise but it was definitely a shock. The idea that such an incredible, vibrant spirit was no longer in my life and the lives of my family seemed unthinkable. Yet that dearest of men lived into his 90’s. He’s left a legacy we will always cherish and live better for.

Uncle Joe was one of those men loved by one and all. He set the standard for all of the men in our lives. We all loved him because he was that special something for each of us. He appreciated how unique we all were and that was definitely his gift. That and the gift of laughter. The man had  sharp wit and a naughty sense of humor. His joie de vivre was infectious and we always laughed so much when we were with him. He lived some tragedies but he was filled with joy. Such a lesson for me. Live the life you have.

I remember the day of my own father’s funeral. I was 17 years old. Uncle Joe sat with us after the service and he was angry and he was sad and he was somewhat incredulous. He kept saying it wasn’t right, my dad was far too young. He promised he would always be there for us and he kept that promise for 43 years. He was a man of his word. He took us in emotionally and he continued to be a father figure to us all. He lived loyalty and faith and by doing so he showed us the way. It’s a truth that we teach our children the lessons we have learned from our own parents, for good or bad and sometimes without realization. I know his lessons were good. His love for his family was immeasurable. I was so proud that he considered me part of his tribe.

I have been a gypsy my whole adult life, traveling and living far from home and sometimes our visits were years apart. But each time I called him on the phone he would start our conversation with the cheery greeting “Tina! You’re lookin’ good!”.  It was always the warmest welcome I could ask for from so far away. He was always interested in my life and what I was doing. I was miles away but he was still my father figure. When I married my husband before I had introduced him to my family, Uncle Joe asked how I could marry a man he hadn’t met yet. It seemed unthinkable. I was always at odds with my own daring. But then he met my husband and they became the fastest of friends. He realized that I had looked for a man so much like him and I was forgiven that transgression.

We are mourning but we are celebrating this good and great man. He was a patriot and a veteran and he loved the country he fought for. I was so gratified to hear he had a military send off. That’s right, I heard. Because again my geographical distance kept me from attending his funeral. I took the day of his funeral off work so I could think of him and celebrate him and I hope, honor him.

He was a husband, a brother, a dad. He was a grandfather and this year became a great grandfather and no one wore that title so well. He was a force to be reckoned with. He was a simple man. Thank you, thank you for all of your love, Uncle Joe. The rest of my life misses you.

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