I’ll admit– I was not super hands-on as a dad. My first child was born back in the late 1970s, a time when not as much was expected from guys in the daddy-duty department yet. The fact that I could change a diaper (if my wife wasn’t going to be back anytime soon) redeemed me as a modern dad. As subsequent kids came along, my job, on days we were taking them out somewhere, was to keep them from getting dirty as my wife dressed them and handed them off to me. The diaper bags, snacks, etc. miraculously appeared near the front door to be loaded into the car.
While my wife took the lion’s share (or should I say lioness?) of day-to-day child rearing, I worked hard at my city job, put in lots of overtime, and eventually earned my retirement at the age of 50. The children are now grown, and my wife has been back to working outside of the house.
Peace and quiet at last!
Fast-forward a few years, and another generation starts occupying that quiet space in my life. Babies in the form of grandchildren continue being born at that rate of one a year, while their parents have to work, or have to manage busy schedules around pick up/drop off, sick kids, school holidays, etc. Who is home, has a driver’s license, a pulse, and is available? You guessed it! Throw a couple of carseats in the back seat of my car (gratis from my kids, of course) and upgrade my flip phone to an iPhone with GPS and tracking capabilities, and I’m good to go!
Now I get excited when Disney releases a new movie and I can tell you which movie theater has a “family” bathroom so I can take a granddaughter without the gut-wrenching fear of hearing “I gotta go!” before we get home.
I know the best entrance to use in Snug Harbor, how to get through the maze of buildings—and how to get around the crew on the days they are filming a movie there.
I know how to cook up a batch of oatmeal with fresh fruit and hide the probiotics in it.
I know which classmates/teammates also have peanut allergies, and I ALWAYS know the whereabouts of the EpiPen.
I know how early you have to get to Trader Joe’s so they won’t run out of the organic English cucumbers.
I know where the F5 soccer field is on Miller Field, and which is the closest parking lot to use when the game is there.
I never miss Santa Claus at dancing school, Opening Day (or practically any other game day) at Little League, or Art Exhibit day at preschool. Hell, I can even fill in at a Gymboree class and pop those bubbles with the best of them!
When I look back and compare the 70s dad with the new me, it makes me laugh. There are now six tiny humans who call me Pa. For that, and for this second chance (third, if you count my own!) at experiencing childhood, I’m eternally thankful. Life is indeed GRAND!
Happy Fathers Day to all!
By Staten Island grandfather Domenick Friscia, who is making the most of his retirement by spending tons of quality time with his grandchildren, and then driving them back to their own homes. Thank God!