#FathersDay Blog 2015: The Luckiest Man in the World

I desperately wanted to be a dad.

Luckily, my wife desperately wanted to be a mom.

And thanks to the love and support of our families (and science), we both got our wishes.

*****

Growing up, my dad worked multiple jobs. He taught during the day, night school, some weekends, and then spent most of the summer as a day camp counselor (and then director).

Work ethic was something I saw early. Dad did his best to provide for our family, and I don’t remember ever truly wanting for anything.

When it came to college, he just said “Pick a place.” And when I picked the expensive private liberal arts college, he didn’t blink.

And through the years, if I’ve needed anything, Dad was there.

That kind of support is what I plan to provide for my girls.

*****
The old joke is that “when you marry someone, you marry their family too.” For me, that’s been a great thing.
 

I got another dad with an admirable work ethic, one who also does whatever it takes to support his family.
 

He busts his butt at work every day, and whenever I stop by I see that he truly has the respect of all his employees — something I strive for in my own career.

And through all the ups and downs and adversity he’s faced, he’s always there for his kids.


 

*****

And of course, there’s my journey to becoming a father. We had tremendous support from both of our families, especially when we needed help from Modern Science.

I was the one who took the phone call when they told us Shannon was pregnant. Probably the greatest call of my life. Of course, until I got to call Shannon and tell her.

I remember standing in the hallway of my office. Sun streaming through the windows, a mid-day shot of adrenaline and happiness to the heart.


 

*****

It was a rough pregnancy, but Shannon was the ultimate trooper. Gave up caffeine and chocolate, focused completely on giving our girls a great start.

Still, there were multiple hospital visits. An laparoscopic gallbladder surgery at 20 weeks. And then they came early.

*****
The C-section was lightning fast. Ali at 11:34. Norah about 10 seconds later. In all the commotion, I tried to get as many photos as possible. I was only able to get one set of footprints on my scrub top.

 

And then the scariest three weeks of our lives.
Here’s how it went down:

 

 

 

 

But it’s all good now, and that’s what matters.

 

*****

I’ve narrowed it down to Six Commandments of Dadding:

6. Provide. Get out there and EARN, son. “Baby needs a new pair of shoes” is a real thing.

 

5. Support. Don’t OVER-do it. (Trophies for all!) But be there when they fall. Encourage when they need help. Compliment when they least expect it.

 

4. Be there. As much as possible. Put down the phone. (Something we all struggle with.) Engage with them, because every moment is precious.

3. Smile. I truly believe the positivity that Shannon and I pour into them is why our girls are awesome, smart, nice, helpful and happy. And smiles are free.

 

2. Be patient. (Something else I’m working on.) They’re kids, for Pete’s sake. Even if it’s at the end of a long day, that’s not their fault. Count to ten, take some deep breaths, and listen.

1. Show the love. Lots of hugs. Cuddles on the couch. When they want to be carried or ask for a piggyback ride, give it. They won’t ask forever. (And they’ll get too big or “grownup” to carry.) Besides, it’s a good mini-workout.

*****
Being a dad is the greatest job I’ve ever had or will have. It’s a responsibility that I wanted, was blessed with, and I cherish every day.

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Enjoy your day — and every single moment!

Advertisements

About My Grandfather: A Life of Love

This was what I said at my grandfather’s funeral two weeks ago.  

We all have thousands and thousands of memories of Grandpop. Morey Greenbaum was a wonderful man who loved us all, and we all loved him for it.

He loved Grandmom Sylvia with all his heart — ever since their first dance in England. We all saw that same love for her every day for all of their time together. The way he called her “Ippel,” the way he’d protect her fiercely against crazy rude drivers when they rode their bikes, the way that  — for all his toughness — he would listen to Grandmom dutifully and do what she said…even if it meant skipping dessert.

Theirs is a love that we all wish for, and the kind I emulate every day. For all the ups and downs that life brings, it’s that kind of loving partnership that pulls you through the tough times. We use Grandmom and Grandpop’s relationship as an example for our own, because it makes life so much sweeter.

During the past year, as he dealt with so many health issues, he had the constant support of his children. That’s a testament to his love for them, that they would be so dedicated in helping care for him when he needed it.

And that’s the biggest lesson (of many lessons) that I learned from Grandpop — to always cherish your loved ones, and cherish every day you get to spend with them. Even a boring old soccer practice could turn into a learning experience over hot chocolate at McDonald’s — or just a happy memory to go along with so many others.

He continued his tradition of infinite love with his grandchildren, all of us spoiled by he and Grandmom. And I say “spoiled” not in a bad way — not just with toys and presents, but with their unconditional love and support, which gave us all wonderful moments and memories.

Over the past year, no matter his condition, whenever I got him on the phone he’d ask about “my ladies.” And he always took great joy in hearing their latest developments — as he did with all his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

For Morey Greenbaum, life was about his family. Life was about love. And that — plus thousands and thousands of memories — is what I will carry with me always.