Father’s Day is a bittersweet holiday in our home. As much as I want to celebrate the amazing father that my husband has become, it’s a hard holiday because we will always be thinking of his father, who is no longer with us.
This Father’s Day I want to take the time to say how incredibly grateful I am for all the extraordinary fathers in my life, past and present. I know their legacy and love of life will continue to live on through my children.
Let’s begin with the first man I ever loved, my Daddy. Not only did he teach me the things I think every father should teach their daughters, like how to ride a bike, how to drive and check the oil in my car, and how to play a mean game of poker.
He also taught me that there’s always time to enjoy the scenic route, and not all things in life should be rushed. The amount of patience this man has astounds me to this day. I could probably count on one hand the amount of times I’ve heard my father seriously raise his voice at someone.
My father taught me what a loving marriage looks like, and that even though you may disagree, raising your voice is not the answer. There was never a time where I doubted my Dad’s love for my mother or his family. He worked three jobs at one time when I was a child to make sure we always had everything we needed in life. He truly showed me what it is to love and be loved and I thank him every day for that.
When I was little I wanted to be a Mail Carrier when I grew up, just like my dad. Now Mikey tells me he wants to be a Mailman when he grows up, just like his Papa. It melts my heart to watch my Dad build relationships with my boys as their Papa Rock.
I’m sure my father learned a lot of these things from his father, my Papa Jim.
Although my Papa Jim passed away in 2011, there is not a day that goes by where I don’t think of him in some way. He taught me how to play gin rummy, shuffle board and let me be his caddy when he went golfing.
He spent 90 years on this Earth and didn’t waste a moment of it. He lived his life with integrity and purpose and I never heard him say an ill word about anyone. The amount of respect I had for this man can not even be put into words.
He also taught me a valuable lesson about love and that it is possible to find love again after loss. My Papa Jim was married to my Grandma Rita for over 50 years. She was the absolute love of his life and he was lost without her when she passed away. But a few years later he met his second wife, his angel, as he referred to her. I believe she was a big reason we got so many more wonderful years with my Papa Jim.
Speaking of grandfathers, my mother’s father, my Papa John is also a huge positive role model in my life. He taught me the importance of family and showed me that lasting love is real. He taught my mother that there is STRENGTH in gentleness and that soft spoken words can speak volumes. He is a man of few words, but when he talks people listen.
He gave me an appreciation for jazz music and taught me the best way to learn is to get out and experience things. He showed me you don’t need all the money in the world to enjoy life and explore new things. He’s also responsible for a lot of my great Italian genes, and I thank him for that.
My Uncle Ken was also a very influential male role model in my life. Since I was little I’ve always had a special bond with him. He taught me to not take life too seriously and that there is room for laughter in just about every situation. He also inspired my passion for candid photography and capturing all of life’s little moments.
My husband is naturally an incredible father to our boys and I know I have his father to thank for that. I met Pat, my husband’s father, on my 20th birthday when they let Kevin invite me along for a weekend in Orlando. What a way to meet my boyfriend’s parents. (No pressure or anything.)
I’ll never forget how I begged everyone not to let the restaurant know it was birthday, but of course he insisted they sing to me and make sure it was embarrassing as possible. He was a man that wasn’t afraid to push you out of your comfort zone and I loved that about him.
Pat taught me about resilience and how to take on everything in life with a positive attitude. He was the absolute rock of his family and always treated me just like a daughter.
When he was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 it crushed us all. He was far to young and no one saw it coming. He didn’t let it keep him down or stop him from enjoying his time left with his family. No matter what kinds of hardships met him, he always kept his head held high and that big goofy grin on his face.
I could go on and on about what an incredible man he was and how my boys would have been so lucky to have him in their lives. Unfortunately he passed away when I was pregnant with Mikey. I know he would have done anything to meet his grandchild and both my boys will have endless stories told about him. They already talk about him every time they see a big semi truck on the road, like PawPaw used to drive.
I can’t wait until they get older and I can tell them the story about how their PawPaw caught an alligator with the help of their Daddy. Luckily I have video to prove that one.
My husband could probably write a whole book on the life lessons he learned from his father. The thing I’ve seen most since he became a father a little over 3 years ago is the amount of unconditional love he has for our boys.
My husband considered his dad his best friend and I hope that our boys will have that same type of relationship with him through out their lives and into adulthood. He never fails in calming them down when they are upset or making them laugh when they are sad.
The boys beg their daddy every night when he gets home from work to go outside and play with them. And he does, just like his father always did with him. They absolutely idolize him and tell me every day how they are going to be “big like daddy.”
I feel so incredibly lucky to have and to have had such strong, kind hearted, genuinely good men in my life. Now that I am a mother to two little boys I can’t help but to think of how grateful I am to have so many positive male role models in their lives.
This is why I have no problem with my little boys playing with baby dolls. It just shows how much they love and want to be just like their Daddy. I can only hope that one day they grow up to be extraordinary fathers too.
Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there!