AN INSIDE LOOK - Commentary and opinions on local politics and life in general in Southeastern Massachusetts! Featuring the writings of Bill Gouveia, newspaper columnist for the Sun Chronicle and local cable TV talk show host. Feel free to read, comment and enjoy!
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Father's Day A Happy Holiday Once Again
This column originally appeared in The Sun Chronicle on Friday, June 13, 2014
AN INSIDE LOOK
By Bill Gouveia
I hated Father’s Day when I
was growing up.It was an awkward time,
and I always wished we could just skip it.
that my home life was horrible, mind you.My parents split when I was 12, and the few years before that weren’t
exactly cheerful and homey.But my first
decade was spent in what I consider a great childhood.I was the oldest of three, lived in a nice
residential neighborhood with lots of friends, and had tons of family nearby.
even before the split, my dad was not exactly the type that celebrated Father’s
Day.He was a hard-working
Portuguese-American who was putting himself through college, working three or
more jobs to support us, and who considered excessive emotion to be a
weakness.He would make time to
celebrate his family members, but celebrating himself just seemed silly.
was good Father’s Day was on a Sunday, because that was one of the few times we
would see Dad.Between attending night school,
working days in a Boston financial firm, and butchering meat on nights and
weekends, his free time was at a premium.As kids, we knew that and understood.
generation of fathers seemed to concentrate on “providing” as the overriding
principle upon which they built their lives.He wanted us to live in a nice house.He took pride in putting steak on the table several nights a week.He mowed the grass regularly, took pride in
his home and family, and minded his own business.
never doubted that he loved us.But the
way he showed it was hard to fully comprehend.He came from a different country and a different life with more
responsibilities.He probably had as
tough a time understanding our needs as we did his.I shouldn’t speak for my brother or my late
sister though.Maybe it was just me.
remember my dad being at exactly one of my Little League games.It was a big deal, and I was extremely
excited.He wasn’t a huge sports fan, so
that wasn’t something we bonded over. But half a century later, I still recall him
standing along the third base line smiling at me as I batted.
dad never had “the talk” with me.He
never taught me how to shave.We never
discussed girls, talked sparingly of school, and had very few truly emotional
moments between us.As I grew into my
later teenage years, that became a good thing because the emotional moments
were seldom about sentiment and often about resentment.
our differences, I saw my dad as the strongest man in the world.I respected how hard he worked and what he
accomplished.And though I was more
outgoing, I proudly became a lot like him in other ways.
I got married and became a father.My
perspective – and my world – slowly changed.
wanted to be a good provider, like my dad.I worked 80 hours per week.When
I had the opportunity to start a business with a friend, that number went even
higher.I was building a future for my
family, and I was proud of what I was doing.
I should have done some things differently.I know that now.
wish I had provided less financially and more emotionally for my kids.They could have done with a few less toys and
a lot more Dad.I was there for lots of
special moments in their lives, but I wish I had been there for more.
I’ve been a reasonably good father, but understand now I could have been so
much better.Being a grandfather has
given me the opportunity to try and make up for past failures, even if only in
my own mind.
I loved my
dad, but I’m glad I didn’t grow up to be just like him.And I’m truly grateful my own two sons didn’t
grow up to be just like me.Because of
them, and the kind of dads they have become, Father’s Day is now one of my
father never stops learning how to be a better dad.Happy Father’s Day to all you dads.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist,
father of two and grandfather of three.He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at