I have two children who think I’m a wonderful dad.
I keep telling them that it’s easy to be a good father when you have maybe the two best children in the world. Of course it has been a long time since they were children. Pauline is 31 and already has two children of her own, and Virgile is 27. Both have good marriages and great career-type jobs. Most important, both of them give every indication of being very happy with their lives.
Whatever contribution I have made to them is pretty much overrated. All I really had to do was stay out of their way and provide support when they asked for it.
I mean really. When your son gets an evaluation from his boss calling him the best young officer he has seen in 20 years, all you can do is shake your head and smile.
As for Pauline, I think the sky is the absolute limit for her. The only thing that might limit her career is that she insists that whenever a choice has to be made between job and family, she will always put her family first. I admire her so much for that.
Somehow, though, I have a hunch she’s going to find a way to do both well. Simply put, she is the most impressive young woman I have ever known.
I used to know two other men for whom Father’s Day was a holiday that meant something. Both of them are gone now — my grandfather passed on in 1985 and my own father died four years ago. As the years go by, I miss each of them more and more.
It may sound like a cliche to say it, but they are the two men who more than anyone else, taught me what it means to be a man.
I don’t know how much longer I’ll be around. My own grandfather died when I was 35. If I’m going to live till Maddie is 35, I will be 93 years old. I’m not sure why, but there is something that horrifies me about being 93. Heck, I’m already half falling apart at 62.
I do hope to have many more Father’s Days, though, and even though Virgile and his wife aren’t currently planning to have kids, I hope they will change their mind because I think my son would be a wonderful father.
He has a good example in his own generation. My son-in-law — Virgile’s brother-in-law — has been a great husband to Pauline and a terrific dad to Maddie and Lex.
So Happy Father’s Day, Ryan. I didn’t forget you.