This column originally appeared in The Sun Chronicle on June 14, 2013
AN INSIDE LOOK
By Bill Gouveia
This Father’s Day weekend, dads everywhere are preparing for the many honors and lavish praise that willbe heaped upon them by their grateful and appreciative families.
Well, a few are. Most are just hoping to be able to relax and get a little attention this Sunday. Dads are generally not known for having overly high expectations.
My Father’s Day will be spent visiting my youngest son and his family in Baltimore – and being treated to the Red Sox-Orioles game at Camden Yards. I’ll see my other son and his family when I get home on Monday. I’m looking forward to it all.
My father is gone now, as well as my stepdad. Naturally, that changes the way I celebrate this particular holiday. But what has given me a new and deeper appreciation of Father’s Day is the fact my sons are now dads themselves - and spectacular ones at that.
As a grandparent, you have the luxury of being able to appreciate the easy and fun part of parenting. There is nothing like enjoying your children’s children, especially when they are as wonderful as mine. You remain a father to your own kids, but in a different role. You get to watch them parent, with your own experience (including mistakes) allowing you to observe and analyze a bit.
Though I confess to not being overly objective, I am extremely proud of my two boys. My oldest has a five year-old son (did I mention his name is William?) and is expecting a new baby in just a few weeks. My younger son has a 14 month-old daughter who melts her Grandpa’s heart every time she smiles.
They are wonderful kids, due in no small part to their two terrific moms. But these children really lucked out in the dad department. They have intelligent, caring fathers who are strong enough to support their children in every way – including knowing when to be firm and when to relax the rules.
It’s sometimes hard watching your children beparents. You see them punishing your grandchild, or perhaps just being a little strict with them in ways you might not be, and you have to stop yourself from commenting. Or maybe you think they are being too lenient, and you catch yourself about to give unsolicited advice.
In today’s world of car seats until they are 21, non-competitive sports leagues, and day-care entrance exams, parents have new and different methods and duties. Mysons have handled their end of this seamlessly. They are totally involved in all aspects of their children’s lives, embodying the spirit and very definition of co-parenting.
And oh, do they love their kids. There is little in this world that makes me feel better than seeing the pride and love in the eyes of my children when they talk about their own kids. It shows in everything they do and say, and is reflected in how much my grandkids obviously adore their dads.
They are so much better at this parenting thing than I ever was, no doubt influenced by the example of their mother. They understand the need to balance career and home, and they never miss the opportunity to enjoy quality family time.
And yet they are dads in a lot of the “traditional” ways (I know I’m not supposed to use that term anymore). On Opening Day this season, my oldest took his son to Fenway Park. My granddaughter was the only child in daycare in Baltimore to wear a Patriots shirt the Friday before the AFC Championship game. And while their kids are not brought up to “hate”, each will go through life with a strong dislike of New York teams.
As much as I’d like to take some credit for the kind of fathers my boys are, I can’t. They have earned it all themselves. They still have a long way to go and a lot to learn, and will discover it gets tougher as you and your kids get older. But they have already shown they are more than equal to the task. That makes this dad very happy.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and can be emailed at email@example.com and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.