Having children certainly gives you pause to reflect, although with all the chaos and diapers, usually your reflections consist of, “When was the last time I ate… I can’t believe they are watching Pokémon again…Was that the doorbell or a ringing in my ears… When was the last time I showered…”
But then there are those quiet moments when you find yourself alone, typically in the bathroom, and you think back to your own journey. The years of struggle trying to reach the New World, setting sail on that ship, no wait, that’s An American Tail. I’m referring to my formative years at home.
My father was my hero. A gentleman in the truest sense of the word. He was well-respected in his field, a WWII navy veteran, and a man of principle. He loved his wife and kids and was a wonderful role model. He was an only child whose father died before he could walk. I often think that’s what made him such an exceptional dad; he had no preconceived notions of what a father should be.
My dad passed when I was sixteen and while that is a painfully young age to lose a parent, I was immensely grateful for the time we had together. My philosophy is, I would rather have had sixteen years with my father than a lifetime with anyone else. No other man could have been as exceptional a father as mine was.
So even though I was only able to enjoy my father’s company for sixteen short years, I feel (and hope) I learned a great deal from him. He taught me the enormous responsibility that goes with fatherhood, and the joy that comes from it. The importance of patience and humor in whatever you do and the sense of intimacy a father can share with his child.
Besides my father, I was blessed to have a wonderful mother as well. My mom taught me more through her actions and deeds than through her words. Mom was always doing for others and it had been that way her entire life. Whether it was my dad, my sister and I, her parents, our kids, her friends, her siblings or a stranger in the grocery store, my mom went out of her way for others. She did not seem at peace unless she had a cause to champion and a person to care for.
As you can see, I have had some wonderful parental role models. Beyond my immediate family I have an incredible wife, amazing sister, caring uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends who have helped assemble for me a loving bridge that led to the development of Dadlands. Actually, after all that foundation being laid, at worst I should do a decent job at fatherhood, I strive for better than that.