My dad, the dad I grew up with, was a good dad. He was the dad he had time to be. I don’t mean that in a bad way by any means. My dad was a busy man. He was the sole provider of our family so my mother could stay at home with us. He worked long hours. Sometimes two jobs, sometimes side jobs. He did what every good dad does.
He took care of us. He provided for us. He made sure we wanted for nothing no matter how many hours he worked. He made sure we had clothes on our backs and food in our stomachs. In the 1970’s through the 1990’s this was his all he did.
He was the disciplinarian. The man we feared. He was hard on us. Expected only the best from us. He taught us how to respect money and our elders. He taught us life’s lessons and wasn’t afraid to give us a lecture if we needed it, and still does.
He saved up his hard earned money to take us on a vacation every year. The one time of year he devoted to us. He built us sandboxes and treehouses. He taught us how to ride a bike, drive, and change a tire. He took me and my friends to our first concert (hello, Richard Marx). He bought us our first cars and helped us get a job.
He wasn’t the dad that attended our school functions. Our games. He wasn’t the dad that played outside with us. He wasn’t home many nights during our awake hours. He didn’t take us to the park. He didn’t take us shopping just because. He did not spoil us. We did not get away with anything. He didn’t stop what he was doing, no matter what the job was, and be there for us.
He does now.
Now, he’s a grandparent.
“Babba”, he’s called.
And what a Babba he is.
When your dad becomes a grandparent something amazing happens. I first witnessed the incredible transformation from the hard as nails father he was to a softie with my sister’s children. They are the apple of his eye. They made him young again. Among many things, he plays with them, buys them gifts just because, takes them for ice cream, attends all of their school functions, shows up just to spend time with them, and stops at the drop of a dime to help my sister when she needs it.
When my son was born he was the first to visit me in the hospital, to hold his grandson. He was the first person to recognize I was slipping into a postpartum darkness weeks after his arrival. He helped me more than I can ever repay him just by simply caring.
He loves my son in a way I never thought imaginable and their bond is something I never expected. It is an amazing sight to see.
He has truly turned into an incredible grandfather giving our children the time he never gave us.
For my dad, his grand children are life’s little mulligans. A do over. A way to make up for what he missed with his own kids. And for us kids, a way to appreciate all the things our dad did for us to make us who we are today.
So to my dad and all of the dads out there, I thank you for all of your hard work, love, and dedication to your families!
Happy Father’s Day!
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