Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Making Memories Monday - A Tribute to Our Three Dads...

This week, I am doing one post for Making Memories Monday and one for Montessori Monday, because in honor of Father's day, I wanted to do a special Father's Day post...

Have gone back and forth about what I wanted to do for a Father's Day post...not sure if it is gonna end up being short or long-ish just yet, as I am writing from the heart, not from a word count perspective for this post...so here goes...

I will find some photos later today or tomorrow to go with this post, as will have to dig through photo albums and scan in some of the oldies but goodies...

Basically, there are three dads who have really impacted the lives of our family...

My own father, whom my sons refer to as Papa,
My father-in-law, whom my sons refer to as Grandad, and of course,
My Dear Hubby, known as Daddy in our home.

My father's gifts to us come in the form of him sharing stories, taking us on walks, going on vacations, as well as the times when I was a child and he would take time out and engage in playing geography games with us, teaching us how to do things, providing for us, taking us to interesting places in the world, and helping us to develop an appreciation for other cultures, customs, and traditions, as well as to know and to embrace our family's Irish ancestry.
My boys have had the opportunity to take some walks with Papa when he comes to town. They have also done a few outings to restaurants for plates of pasta as well as some movies and zoo visits. Since we have moved to Florida, they now get to see Papa when he is down for the winter. They have enjoyed their time getting to ride their bikes in my parents' neighborhood in the sunshine State.

Papa is an incredibly hard working, generous man who is a leader in the community, a pillar in his industry, and an active church member.
He loves golfing, taking walks even if it is incredibly hot, and planning and then going on vacations.
My dad is very driven and tenacious, sees the big picture, and embraces religion.
Papa is an excellent friend to many people and in return, he has enumerable friends.
My dad is well spoken and takes care of himself as far as watching his diet and exercise.
One of my dad's favorite sayings is "Be happy." His other favorite is "Be yourself."
These are both good pieces of advice to live by, as it is hard to do much in life if you were to lead a life where you are constantly posing instead of being real..having an understanding and acceptance for who you are as a person and loving that person as a whole, not just dwelling on your shortcomings...
If you focus on being happy, you will be happier...
Life has many bumps in the road but that is part of life's journey...
Learning to navigate through this bumpy terrain and make the most of it is the purpose of life.
Papa seems to derive much happiness through giving life his all and spending time with those who mean the most to him.
By being a friend, you have friends, by giving of yourself, people will give of themselves in return...a cycle of generosity, if you will...

One of my earliest memories with spending time with my dad is helping him as we went on our first trip to Florida when I was in second grade. He had thoroughly planned our trip and made sure that it was both fun as well as educational...he had us check out some of his favorite places in Florida from when he was a boy and the trip was truly one of the most delightful experiences of my childhood.
What was memorable about my interaction with my dad on this trip was that my dad let me help to read the AAA Trip Tik, which for those of you who might not be familiar with this, it is an old school, paper road map that has your entire route in a flip the page, fold out sort of booklet...it even had things stamped on it such as" road work" "speed trap" "detour" and so on...
Papa had me help read the AAA Trip Tik and had me calculate the mileage as we were heading down South in our family station wagon.
He taught me how to read the Trip Tik, how to interpret the data from the Trip Tik, and how to use the data to predict things as our estimated time of arrival in Florida.
In addition to the hands-on geography and math lessons from this time with my dad, he also taught all of us some classic car travel games including the " A is for Asia...Beginning Letter and Ending Letter Geography Game", the "License Plate Game", and the "My Father Owns a Grocery Store Game".
In between helping with the Trip Tik and playing travel games, my dad also shared stories about his childhood memories of Florida. My dad had rheumatic fever as a child. Following a year long recovery, his doctor told my grandparents that they would have to either permanently relocate to someplace warm or else they would have to go down South for the winter, as my dad's body could not handle the cold after being so sick.
So, every winter and spring, my grandparents would pack him up and they would live in Florida for part of the winter and spring months.
Papa had spent so much time as a boy in Florida that when we were there on our first trip as a family, it was great, as it was literally his old stomping grounds...
My dad was able to tell us so much about the history of Florida and how things had changed and grown since he was a boy.
Papa also followed in his father's footsteps... just as his father had done with him when my dad was a boy, we also did school work in the mornings on our vacations. 
Although they did not refer to the time my dad spent in Florida with his dad teaching / tutoring  him as homeschooling, Papa was essentially homeschooled every winter and spring, even though he was still technically considered to be a member of his parochial grade school class.

Following our first trip to Florida, we took annual trips every year after our initial big trip South.
It just became a part of what we did as a family and really helped for all of us to grow to love traveling and learning about the world and its people.
To this day, I still love to travel and fully embrace the notion that a child's life should include traveling to other places so that they learn about other cultures, customs, traditions, and how geography and history both play an integral role in shaping a culture.

The next man who has played an integral part in our lives is Dear Hubby's father, affectionately referred to now by Big Bro and Little Bro as Grandad, although early on, Big Bro took to calling him " Grandfather" for some reason...
What can I say but that the boys just love Grandad?
Early on through the present, Big Bro and "Grandfather" have been and still are the bestest of buddies.
Every time we would get together, Big Bro immediately would go and seek out Grandad...he would get Grandad to play catch, pretend to make pies, play hide and seek, and pretty much do whatever Big Bro wanted him to do.
Grandad is very easy going around the boys. He is always willing to have them spend time with him, play some baseball outside, or just have them sit on his lap.
Grandad has shared his love of science, art (painting), Ford Mustangs, golf, and spending time with the family with our family.
Grandad is a man of few words on most occasions, but he is very kind and affectionate with his grandchildren and really seems to enjoy spending time with them.
He likes to sleep in later than my boys are willing to let him sleep. He is a good sport and is generally willing to go along and go places when maybe he would have been just as comfortable sitting at home and relaxing.
Grandad made a great initial impression on me, as early on, he and my brother-in-law came to visit before Dear Hubby and I had gotten married or had children. I made a roast beef dinner and Grandad told me that he loved the meal and thought that it was delicious. This was big, as I am not much of a cook, and the fact that he had complimented the meal made me feel good about attempting to make a nice dinner.
I have always been the least likely to jump in and cook, as my sibs are all seemingly more skilled in the kitchen, unless of course you want a cute, kid friendly snack or some baked goods...so when Grandad gave me a compliment on a meal, he was A - Okay in my book...actually WAY more than A - okay...he is a great father-in-law and grandfather.

Now, for the Daddy I would like to give the biggest props to, my Dear Hubby...

Dear Hubby is a wonderful father to both Big Bro and to Little Bro.

He adores his sons and they just adore him.

From the moment we found out that we were expecting Big Bro, he has kicked it into gear in all areas of daddy greatness.

I truly admire and love my husband for the man he is and the father he has become.

Dear Hubby loves to spend time with his family, whether it is time spent at the pool, building Legos, taking vacations, reading bedtime stories, making brownies or pizza, going to the park, playing catch, taking walks, riding bikes, coaching t-ball, supporting any and all artistic / athletic / social endeavors that the boys have done, watching them do their thing while homeschooling, teaching them about some of his life's passions, including learning about the weather and the solar system, learning about how to play golf, baseball, and hockey, or just hanging out and watching shows like the Science Channel's How It's Made or Food Network's Cake Challenge.

Dear Hubby, a.k.a. Daddy, is the kind of dad that every little boy should have, as he is an excellent role model, can be both serious and somewhat stern if the situation calls for it, but then, can also be very relaxed, easygoing, and can just kick back and really have fun in the moment...he s a very loving, devoted father and feels the love in return, as he has spent much of his time with the ones he loves the most, our family.

One of the fondest memories I have of Dear Hubby is when we found out each time that we were expecting...he always was as enthusiastic about our news as I was...he was just as eager to embrace being a parent as I was...he was always excited that our family was going to grow by one more...the excitement on his face was truly palpable...he just lit up when he got the chance to hold his sons for the very first time.

Painfully, he was also just as devastated when we lost Baby #3. Dear Hubby was a rock through that difficult time in our lives and has helped me to be able to still enjoy life and to seize the day so-to-speak, and to focus on living in the present and loving every minute that we get to be on this Earth to be the proud parents of two wonderful sons.

One of the daily interactions that will always serve as wonderful memories long after the boys are grown is every day, when Daddy arrives home from work.
To see the two boys run to the door, along with our Dear Pup, Elliot, to totally embrace him as he walks through the front foyer of our home...they hug him, kiss him, jump all over him, and yell "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy."Elliot circles around and feeds off the excitement of the moment...He wants to be part of the welcome home party every night, too.
Big Bro and Little Bro are usually very quick to start rattling off info. about how they spent their day, what they did for their work, what new adventures they had had while he was at work...the only time there is a slight change in this is if one or both of the boys had a rough day...
Even then, they generally share about as we refer to them their "bumps in the road"...and they do this usually pretty willingly, as they know that Daddy loves them no matter what...

Dear Hubby's love of science, nature, the great outdoors, sports, travel, and even math have trickled down to both sons. They embrace these areas as much as their Daddy...
Frequently, you will hear the exchange between Daddy and the boys about whatever planet or planets happen to be visible in the night sky that night...
Little Bro is almost always certain that it is Neptune...Daddy will gently tell him otherwise...then, there will be some discussion about the moon and the stars n the sky...almost like a mini visit to a planetarium on most nights...

Dear Hubby has become quite the cook and baker...
The boys help Daddy when he is whipping up pizzas, calzones, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and popcorn...

We all love his cooking, whether it is pizza or cookies, stir fry or soup,  steaks on the grill or pasta and meatballs.

Almost every weekend, you can find Daddy helping the boys with some sort of creation, whether it is a Lego Tower, a GeoTrax Train Layout, or a marble run.

Daddy is also the one who keeps the outside of our home looking nice, as he cuts the grass, trims the palm trees and bushes, and plants all of the flowers in the yard. he takes great pride in keeping our home looking nice from the outside and the boys have embraced this, in that they also like to putter around and help to rake or sweep or plant.

The boys are also very proud of their daddy and his job  as they say "for the government."
They love going on base to see their Daddy at work and enjoy it when special events happen there, especially when the air show comes to town.

Whenever I tell them that we have to go down to pick up Daddy from work, they are always excited about going to get him.

My sons have a wonderful relationship with their dear Daddy.

Well, that wraps it up...my tributes to the three dads who have the most impact in our day-to-day lives.

Feel very blessed to have grown up with a father who loves his family and friends and is dedicated to his work, as his dedication to working has always made it possible for our family to be able to enjoy the vacations and other nice things in life.

Am very happy that not only is the man that I have married a fabulous husband to me and father to our sons, but that his dad, Grandad, is a stellar dad to my hubby, father-in-law to me, and grandfather to our boys.

We are truly blessed to have these three men in our lives, as both Big Bro and Little Bro look up to and love all three...these men are hard working, loving, and kind men who care about their families and have set the bar high insofar as being fathers and grandfathers.

Well, hope that everyone had a happy Father's Day weekend! This is a bit late, but nonetheless sincere...just decided to focus on the family this week and put off spending time on my blog to be able to max out my time with them.
Have lots of posts to put up over the next few days, though...

Be sure to read Jennifer's Father's Day Making Memories Monday post and all of the Father's Day posts that link up for the day.


carol stickney said...

Beautiful tribute to three very special men in your life and the lives of your boys!!

Jennifer said...

Lovely post. You are fortunate to have three such loving, supportive men in your life - but then you know that! Happy Father's Day to all three of the Dads in your life!

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