Two Wonderful Dads!

14 Jun

I was blessed with a wonderful Dad. He had a love of people, all people, with the biggest heart. He once told me that when each child and grandchild is born, you do not split what you have in your heart. No your heart gets bigger. And that was my Dad.

He loved all of us. I was his favorite oldest daughter; my sister was his favorite youngest daughter; my brother was his favorite son. And that continued with his grandchildren. Each one knew that he loved them the most and the best, along with all the other grandchildren that he loved the most and the best.

My Dad was not perfect. But when it came to giving out love, he was the best.

Along the way, he and my Mom loved not only their children and grandchildren, but also their children’s friends and their children. So many of my friends’ children called my Dad and Mom, grandma and grandpa. Some did not have grandparents of their own. Others just felt like my parents were their grandparents too.

And I have friends who saw in my Dad and Mom, substitute parents. And my parents loved them in return. My Dad was more outgoing in his attention. But my Mom always sent them holiday greeting cards and had a special word.

One of my close friends was in New York on business. I told her, “You better let my parents know. “ She did not call them.   So who did she see walking down a street in Manhattan: my Dad. He had a few words for her.

Some of our friends got to see Dad in action in the Catskills. His enjoyment in being at the house in Kauneonga Lake was legendary. And the friends who came up, be they mine or my siblings, were always welcome with love. They all got to eat steak from the grill, or perhaps be part of the Sunday morning French toast breakfast. And if you were lucky you got to ride in the boat.

Dad loved to share his stories, his advice and his hugs and love with everyone.

I think when I looked for a husband, I wanted someone like my Dad; someone who would love and nurture our children.

My husband is a much quieter person than my Dad. But he has been a great Dad. One of his early concerns, before we had children, was that he would not have enough time to be with them. As a physician, he is often busy. But he found the time.

It was my husband who often gave them a bath, singing “Rubber Ducky” in a great imitation of Bert and Ernie. My husband has a great singing voice. He once won a talent contest on a cruise ship singing Rubber Ducky!

It was my husband who read to them every night before bed, when he was home. My reading was never accepted. My husband had voices for every character. I loved listening to him read as well. He read the entire child’s encyclopedia to my daughter. My son wanted dinosaur and lizard books.

He read every Harry Potter book to them. Even when they were in High School, they wanted him to read these books! He would lie in our bed, with our children in the room, reading for an hour or two. When he said, “That’s enough for tonight,” they would beg for more. Sometimes he gave in.

There were a few books he learned to hate. He had read “Pippi Longstocking” so many times to our daughter, that he hid it on a high shelf. He is 6’3” so it was easy for him. Years later, my daughter and I were cleaning bookshelves, and there it was. “Mom, Look! “Pippi Longstocking”! It didn’t get lost,” she said to me when she found it   I just laughed. What could I say?

Because he had such a busy schedule, I often took my children to lunch with him at the hospital where he worked. Wednesdays in the summer time was lunch date with Dad. We would pick up his favorite sandwich and spend some time with him. They loved it.

When they were older, my children had a dinner date with their Dad each week. Tuesdays were my daughter’s date night. They would try out all sorts of different restaurants and report back. She was in seventh or eighth grade when they started going out.   Wednesdays were my son’s night. Our son was younger, so they spent much time at a local pizza place. Those meals were usually a bit shorter.

As a freshman in high school, my daughter came home one day with an important comment. “Mom,” she said seriously. “I feel bad for some of the girls I eat lunch with. They never go out to dinner with their dads.”

They had been talking about parents, and my daughter had told them about her Tuesday night dinner dates with Dad. Several of the girls commented on how they would love it if they could have dinner with their dads.   My daughter thought all dads had dinner with their children.

My husband does not think he was the best dad. He was often busy or out of town. But when he was home, he was engaged and showed them attention. We took our children on trips all over the world. He taught them about the night sky because of his love of astronomy. He loved to teach and share his knowledge.

I am so fortunate to have had two wonderful Dads in my life: my father, who was a great Dad to me, and my husband who has been a great Dad to our children.

They are different in many ways, but the love they have for their children is the same.

I hope all Dads have a wonderful Fathers’ Day.

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