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A funny thing happened on my way to Father’s Day 2017.

I became a grandfather thanks to my stepson and his wife.

The thing about becoming a grandfather is that it brings you sharply back to when you were a first-time parent.

That moment is filled with an overpowering brew of emotions, among them anticipation, hope, fear and pride.

I recall well holding my first son 24 years ago, bringing him to the window of the hospital suite and telling him about the trees and the clouds in the sky.

But from the moment you take your newborn in your arms, you are destined to screw things up.

You’re human, so you’re fallible and flawed. That your parenting will be less than perfect is inevitable.

But here’s the thing: No one tells you that as you begin your journey as a dad.

You start out in a state of high expectations.

You think you are going to be the embodiment of all the best TV  fathers — some combination of Andy Taylor (“The Andy Griffith Show”), Ward Cleaver (“Father Knows Best”) and Howard Cunningham (“Happy Days”).

And then expectations meet reality: As a parent, you can feel sapped of time, energy and money, which can bring on guilt, doubts and feelings of inadequacy.

Am I doing a good job? Do I spend enough time with my kids? Are they socially engaged with others? Do I do enough to stimulate their curiosity? Am I setting a good example?

This is especially reinforced when you start comparing yourself to other dads.

“Well look at him,” you think. “He’s a soccer coach and Boy Scout volunteer and he takes his son camping and and and…”

It becomes a vicious cycle: The more doubtful or guilty you feel, the greater the sense of inadequacy. And so it goes to the point where you feel farther and farther away from the parenting utopia you think you should reach.

I can’t speak for all dads, but I know to this day I harbor so many wouldas, shouldas, couldas about raising my sons.

I look back and think I should have given more of my time but I either was too busy with work, not getting enough sleep or feeling the strain of my first marriage disintegrating.

So, like with everything else in life, you do the best you can. You fall down, get up and put one foot in front of the other.

And do you make mistakes – some of them awful and regretful? Yes. Yes you do.

But here’s the thing, despite your shortcomings and through some combination of grace, luck and gargantuan support from family (in my case, my second wife), things turn out well.

My “boys,” who just turned 24 and 19, are well regarded by others and valued at their jobs. They’re funny and caring and hard-working.

Sure, they have hang-ups and flaws — would it kill them to take out the garbage? — but they have grown into impressive young men.

So on this Father’s Day, hats off to dads everywhere.

You might not be perfect but if you’ve worked hard and tried your best, chances are the kids are all right.

Related content:

The World According to My Dad

On Father’s Day, Recalling a Son Growing Up

A Father’s Day Poem

How Are the Guys Doing?

In this guest blog post, David Figura, a newsman and author of the book “So What Are The Guys Doing?”, was invited by his former colleague Chris Mele to answer some questions about about men and friendships.

David’s book offers a brutally honest first-person appraisal of men facing middle age, their marriages, friendships and lives and how they can go sideways unless we nourish them.

At what point did you come to realize and appreciate the importance of male friendships? How old were you?

It was after I turned 50. Over the years, my attitude toward the need for getting together on some regular basis with male friends was eroded by my commitment to work and family – with an emphasis on work.

I didn’t get or understand the need for having balance in my life.

I was a workaholic – and what free time I had leftover I gave to my kids and to my relationship with my wife, in that order. I was a soccer coach, president of the school’s boys and girls varsity soccer booster club. I went away on Boy Scout outings.

Unfortunately, I often gave lip service (failed to act or carry through) on time alone and doing fun things with just my wife, Laura.

As the empty nest years got closer and closer with the kids going to or eyeing college, I was miserable and constantly arguing with Laura.

It sucks when your wife is your best and only friend and you’re having marital problems.

Laura started actively taking steps toward spending more time with her friends. This developed into more “girlfriend getaways” and weekly gatherings with her female friends.

And me?

My free time was often spent often alone, feeling resentful about Laura and all her friends and their activities. I had no one to go out with for a beer, breakfast or to go fishing.

I was in a bad place.

Add to all that, a woman I had dated long ago looked me up and wanted to have an affair – which I nearly took her up on.

What I did afterward – specifically, the changes I made (including seeking marriage counseling) — set me on a different course in my life.

Steps included initiating marriage counseling, changing jobs — and starting a low-stakes poker club that meets monthly, a co-ed volleyball team that plays throughout the winter and a summer horseshoe throwing group that meets weekly and goes out for beer afterward.

What are the major obstacles to guys starting or maintaining friendships among other men?

Inertia is a powerful thing.

Change, taking risks – even though you know deep down it’s the right thing — can be difficult. The biggest obstacle for me was initially I didn’t want to, or failed to see the need for change.

Like many guys, I was reluctant to reach out, to join something – to actually schedule time with male friends. I had nothing going and that lack of activities was reflected on the family calendar on the kitchen refrigerator. That calendar was full, though, of my wife’s get-togethers with her friends.

Another big obstacle to getting my friendship network again – and for many guys, for that matter – was that I was rusty at it.  I had let my friendship garden go, always depending on my wife to orchestrate or schedule our social agenda – even our vacations.

Moving around didn’t help.

With several different jobs and moves in my newspaper career, my friendship garden was full of weeds. There was no group of high school friends or nearby family my age to turn to for day-to-day activities. I parachuted into several communities and responded by focusing even more on work.

I reached a point, though, where I decided I was in charge of my own happiness and I began acting on it.

I taped a note on my bathroom mirror that read, “It won’t happen unless I do it.”

At first, it was difficult getting together with guys. I had to commit.

However, I pressed on. I’m glad I did.

What are the benefits to having male friends vs. turning to your partner/spouse as your friend?

For me, I didn’t realize what I was missing until I got balance back in my life. I found that having something to look forward to each week, each month – apart from my marriage and family – has been rejuvenating, stress-relieving, fun.

More important, my friends are there for me, and I’m there for them.

I could give numerous examples of where that’s happened. It’s great, comforting to have guys you can rely on in tough situations, and who rely on you.

Surprisingly, it’s really helped bolster and enrich my relationship with my wife.

I look forward our time together. I appreciate her more. She has her activities, I have mine. I came to realize I’m the best husband, father and friend when I’m happy with myself.

Any advice for icebreakers or ways to get friendships started if you feel like you are in friendship desert?

Like I said, inertia can be a powerful thing. You’re in charge of your own happiness. It’s all about attitude and acting on that attitude.

My advice is to start small and don’t get discouraged. Ask another guy out for breakfast, or for a drink after work, or to get together to shoot baskets at the local Y.

If it works, think about making it a regular thing. Schedule it.

Next, make a list of your passions, activities that interest you.

Start doing some research online and scan the local newspaper about opportunities. Talk to folks at work, acquaintances. Have your wife or girlfriend ask her friends about what’s out there in your interest area (s).

It really helps to join a league, a club that’s already doing your preferred activity. I started off by joining a co-ed volleyball league without my wife. She was initially busy doing her thing those evenings, but after a couple of years ended up joining the team and is still a member.

Finally, don’t get discouraged.

Think of fishing. Keep casting. You can’t catch a fish unless you wet your line, and you won’t catch one on every cast.

How far back do you and your closest friends go? And how do you keep it going?

I have lot of close friends from way back (high school, college). However, as a journalist I’ve moved around a lot, to the West Coast and back. It’s been hard to keep in contact unless I make the effort.

That means traveling to visit them, attending reunions, scheduling annual get-togethers, such as fishing trips.

However, you can’t always be looking back. The friends I’ve made from the activities I’m currently involved in are definitely among my closest friends.

We have had memorable experiences together, shared each other’s joys and concerns. Attended the weddings, graduations and other celebrations of each other’s children.

They have taught me that good friends make for a good life.

David Figura is the outdoors writer for NYUP.com and The Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse, N.Y.

For more about his book, “So What Are The Guys Doing?” go to www.davidjfigura.com

 

The World According to My Dad

For Father’s Day, I thought I would share some of my father’s sayings and pearls of wisdom.

As the oldest child, I have been exposed to these the longest of my siblings and thus they are part of my DNA.

What follows is a blend of Borscht Belt kitsch and Old World philosophy.

Think of it as the World According to My Dad.

About his mental health:

I’m not well you know.

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Bad jokes:

You know why electricity is cheaper in Lower Manhattan? It’s near the Battery.

When I die, there will be a sign outside our building and do you know what that sign will say? Apartment for rent!

I got called for a Charles Atlas ad. They want me to be the model for the “before” look.

You heard about the couple that planned to elope? The girl called it off at the last minute. You know how the guy knew? She threw a cantaloupe out the window.

If I go bald, I’ll just comb my eyebrows back.

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How can you tell the bride is pregnant at a wedding? The guests throw puffed rice.

(My mom emigrated from Germany in the 1960s): Winnie was sent here by her government to marry the smartest man in America. She failed in her mission.

I’m going bald because my brains are making my head grow.

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You look good. Who’s your undertaker?

How tall are you? Wow, I didn’t know they piled shit that high!

Italian 

Con la rosa arriva le spine. (With the rose comes the thorns.)

Basta! (Enough!)

Don’t be a scooch! (Pest/pain in the butt.)

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Ah, bah-fungoo!

It was really skeevatz. (Disgusting)

Stop being a gavone! (A pig/someone who is greedy about food.)

About food:

Are you going to eat that?

Are you going to finish that?

Let me just have a little taste.

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If you go home hungry, it’s your own fault. (Said after hosting a big holiday spread of food.)

Let me taste it first to make sure it’s not poison.

It would be a sin to let that go to waste.

What did you have to eat?

Just a touch…Whoa! That’s good.

Discipline:

(After giving me a smack in the head): That was for nothing. Imagine if you did something!

Reliving his Navy days:

Attention on deck!

All hands on deck.

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Philosophy:

I want you to have a clean living: No cigarettes, no booze and no women: It’s clean, but is it living?

The older I get, the less use I have for people.

You know what they say about marriage: The first 30 years are the roughest.

Tomorrow is another day.

Rome was not built in a day.

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You’re my favorite horse even if you’ve never won a race.

I like to keep a low-profile — by remaining horizontal.

What sins did you commit that you have to work here?

Remember, always shoot for 200 percent, this way if you fall 100 short, you will still have a hundred.

Getting old sucks. I don’t recommend it.

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My all-time favorite Christmas morning photo of my old man and one of my sisters, Lorraine.

Working in a job you don’t like is like taking sandpaper to your soul.

You know if I were not this crazy, your life would be boring.

And finally…

I’m proud of you buddy. Keep up the good work. Love you.

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Father’s Day Roundtable

As fathers, we hardly lead the lives of television characters such as “Father Knows Best,” “Leave It to Beaver,” or “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.”

Unlike television characters, our parenting efforts lack a script.

We make it up as we go along, drawing on what experiences we recall from our parents.

The results are far from flawless.

We stumble and fall. Pick ourselves up and stumble again.

In the beginning of fatherhood, it’s comparatively easy because you are a towering figure of authority in their lives.

You can pretty much do no wrong.

And then they become teenagers and you suddenly have become an asshole.

In this episode of About Men Radio, the four members of the AMR posse who are dads take inventory of how we’ve done/are doing as fathers.

Have we broken our children? Have we crushed their dreams because we took away their iPads for an hour? How do we rate ourselves as dads on a scale of 1 to 10?

As usual, the discussion is brutally honest and funny. Give it a listen and happy Father’s Day!

On Being a Dad and Facing an Empty Nest

There is a memorable story told about my late fiancée and her son that goes like this:

Garth was in his 20s and headed out for a night on the town.

He was primping himself in front of a mirror.

His mother, (my late fiancée), Carla said something to him and he cracked wise or sarcastic.

She came up behind him and smacked him in the back of the head — even though he had about five inches on her.

Garth wheeled around and angrily asked: “Whatdidja do that for?!”

Her reply?

“You will never be too old or too big that I’m not your mother!”

It remains a memorable story because it speaks to Carla’s spirit (let’s just say she did not take guff from anyone) but it also embodies an important lesson I am learning as a dad who will soon face an empty nest.

Our younger son is a high school senior and will be in college by the late summer.

He has his own car, a wide circle of friends and is active in numerous extracurricular activities.

Translation: My wife and I don’t see too much of him. When we do, we try to make the most of the time together.

Our older son graduated from college in the spring, landed a job 10 days before graduation and has been on his own and out of state since last July.

The days of us having to hand-hold or ferry “the boys” around to different school events or social engagements are over.

And in many ways, at least right now, I miss that.

As a dad, being there for them and being the one who looked out for them day-to-day was my raison d’être.

The core missions of looking out for the lads’ well-being, care, feeding and upbringing defined my role as a parent for two decades.

Now, suddenly — poof!

It feels as if I am wearing a pair of those “beer goggles” they give kids in driver’s education to mimic the feel of drunken driving: My view of reality has been twisted and distorted.

So it came as something of a relief (and a sense of still being needed) when No. 1 son recently called and emailed about a low-level emergency after being locked out of his first apartment.

Much to his credit, he was collected and clear-headed and was merely looking for some advice about navigating the situation with his landlord. (It turned out that the lock was installed incorrectly and malfunctioned.)

I recall once when I was standing on line at a supermarket with the boys when they were about 12 and 7.

A veteran parent ahead of me struck up a conversation.

I recall well what she said: “The older kids get, the more complicated and more expensive the problems become.”

Yes, that is certainly true.

But what I’m also learning is that they’ll never get too old or too big that I’ll ever stop being their dad.

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Showing Dad Admiration and Respect Through Soccer

Respect: Of the many who demand it, few get it and even fewer deserve it.

I truly believe that respect is earned wordlessly, silently, almost imperceptibly through action.

I recall a certain event with my Dad that exemplifies this notion. It happened as I was entering my rebellious years. I was 14.

I held high respect for Dad from very early on. But once a boy becomes a teenager, he may show disrespect toward the very towering figures he put on a pedestal for so long.

Allow me to explain.

My love and devotion for the game of soccer is ingrained in me just from having been born in Argentine lands.

The very air in the country, heavily laden with the perspiration of countless players and games, practically infects all newborn boys with the fever of soccer.

How it grows and develops in an Argentine child comes from the father and then through endless street, sandlot and neighborhood games, moving toward more structured Futból leagues with his peers as he grows.

Having moved with my family to the Bronx as a toddler, an element of that soccer growth was interrupted. In the early ’60s, youth soccer was not as popular as it is now. My father, who in Argentina played at the professional level, continued in some adult leagues that played in Van Courtland and Flushing Meadow Parks.

But for me, chasing la redonda (the round one) in New York became strictly a father-son thing.

As I got older, Dad encouraged me to pick up the ball with my hands, and slowly but surely, a soccer goalkeeper was developing. He told me that since I did not grow up with the opportunity to play potrero (sandlot) soccer, that I should work to become a goalkeeper.

After-school trips to the park were a daily occurrence.

Since available soccer goalposts were a rarity, we would set up a couple of markers to serve as goalposts in front of a fence or wall with grass leading up to it and kick away — me crouching and diving, Dad stopping to give me pointers, explaining the art of the keeper and tirelessly kicking soccer balls.

It was heaven.

Summers, fall and spring, the training continued.

As I got a little older, the feeling of “I know more than you” started to also develop.

One day we went to Pelham Bay Park for our goalkeeper training.

At this session I made the mistake of thinking I could show my Dad up. I thought that not only was I the best, but that I was going to show him in a very flashy way.

How? In my case, by making stops while moving half-heartedly toward the ball, by chicken-winging my arm and knocking out the kicked ball with my elbow, by staying upright and turning my back to the ball and heel-kicking it back.

What I forgot was that the man in front of me was once a professional soccer player and I had never experienced a true soccer shot.

I quickly found out that he had always pulled his punches.

And I found out most loudly.

The next few shots came in a blur.

I remember getting a hand on a few, and how they hurt. The ones I could not stop, because they came at me as if fired from a howitzer, hit that wall behind me with a stupendous BANG!

They hit off that wall so hard that they went right back to Dad without my intervention and he readied himself for the next shot.

At one point the volley stopped and he walked to me. He calmly asked if we were done.

He seemed 10 feet tall again. He never directly addressed the barrage, never mentioned my display of disrespect.

We probably talked about soccer the way we always did on the way back home.

But in that one loud, wordless moment, he got back that respect that I vainly attempted to take away.

A Father’s Day Poem

A Father, a Son
(for Jackson)

I — an atomic collection culled from a universe of green stamps and cathode ray tubes
— stay.

You — atoms collected from a different universe of ration books and radios — go first.

Before me, you were.
Because of you, I am.

You made me, a son.
And I made you a father, but
who is this ladder I must climb?
A Priam, who could only love out loud when his son, Hector, died?Joseph of Bethlehem, who had no son of his own?
Maybe Luke’s father, a cripple who believed he should cripple his son?
Or Calvin T. Underwood, whose son would become president and piss on his gravestone?

Some fathers are like that.
And sons?
How few are as lucky Telemachus, whose father chooses him to fight for the honor of their house?
Is this the secret that we share? To weave our love through time and longing? To be, at last, chosen?
Are all fathers like Odysseus to young hungry sons? Absent and traveling?
Never home, homeward bound?

But in this telling, we are the travelers:
hurtling through time
urgent as spring cataracts
slamming the rock.

Fathers and sons must travel great distances to meet as equals —
it is our great romance.
But the ladder is a lie:
The boy becomes a man as the man grows old.

In some long-forgotten sedimentary layer of myself, a cast-off chrysalis, you were the world I crawled, toddled and ran to.
You were the man whose long strides I stretched to match.

The women have their fairy tales of handsome princes.
We have heroes: G.I. Joe, Batman and you —

gone again
to test the water in the tub.

 

Meg McGuire is the wife of AMR contributor Christopher Mele.

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You Wanna Know What Comes Between Me and My Daddy Jeans?

“Dad jeans” are notable for being remarkably unremarkable.

Urbandictionary.com defines “Dad jeans” this way:

“Jeans that are no longer fashionable and are usually characterized by a tapered leg, high waist or brand name that was cool about 10 years ago. Dad jeans are typically worn by aging men with salt and pepper hair who are in denial that they are no longer hip, have children and drive a station wagon or SUV.”

I was blissfully ignorant of this derogatory term until recently, when my wife made reference to it.

It turned out that I was a dad jeans frequent flier. (“Clothes Really Do Make the Man” and “Daddy Jeans Revisited.”)

In my defense, I like to dress for comfort.

I am self-conscious about looking too paunchy in the poochey, which is why I tend to get pants that are a little looser in the waist.

With my height, though, it means they are saggier in the butt.

But when the pants are tighter in the butt, they tend to be tighter in the waist which, I think, accents my gut.

Hence the dad jeans look.

The last time I gave jeans style a thought was when I was a teenager and I owned — I can admit this now — a pair of Jordache jeans.

Hey, don’t judge! It was the ’80s! Everybody was doing it!

My wife, bless her besotted self, tells me I have a comely tush that I keep well hidden in what amounts to balloon clown pants.

Pedro tells me I could rent out the extra space I have in my pants and easily get $1,500 a month rent for it in New York City.

So as a present for Father’s Day, Meg and my youngest son Daniel, took me shopping for pants.

This trip required that I:

  • Try on each pair
  • And model them for approval from the judges.

I HATE clothes shopping. And the only thing I hate more is having to try stuff on in fitting rooms.

I much prefer to go to the rack or the shelves, find my size and proceed to checkout. Easy-peasy!

jeansThe trip to the mall is featured in our latest podcast, which pays tributes to dads, Father’s Day and, of course, dad jeans.

I will say that as a result of the shopping expedition (and Meg’s
abundant patience and encouragement), I am now outfitted with several pairs of good-fitting jeans.

The lesson I learned?

I will take the time to try on clothes and no longer shop for jeans by the seat of my pants.

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From Boys to Men

On my cellphone, under contacts, is a listing labeled “boys.”

The contact is an artifact of 10 years ago when my sons got a cellphone for emergencies. It was a flip phone that they shared since they both went to the same school.

Then they were ages 12 and 7.

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Today, of course, they are each outfitted with their own smartphones, in which they tweet, text, Facebook, Skype and engage in all manner of communications.

I have kept the entry “boys” as my contact for my oldest son even though it is hopelessly out of date.

He is no longer a boy but a young man on the cusp of graduating college and embarking on a career and life that will involve less and less of me and my wife.

Up to about five years ago, I felt that time was accelerating like a sled going down a steep hill but that time for my sons was moving at a languid pace.

Now, the pages in the chapters of their lives are flipping forward furiously like what you see in the opening credits of “Masterpiece Theater.” And the pace of my life suddenly feels like a leisurely thumbing through the pages of the newspaper.

In the second to last episode of this season’s “Downton Abbey,” Mary, the oldest daughter, remarks on the sweeping  changes taking place in the household.

Though Mary was commenting on a fictional setting, she might well have been talking about real life.

In the early years, your role as a dad is defined around the waking hours of your kids: Breakfast, school, after school, dinner, bedtime, leisure time, weekend trips, time spent visiting with family, etc.

And then, one day, you discover that managing those activities has been taken away from you. Your kids have become self-actualized.

For me, the change is marked by the morning ritual of getting them to the school bus stop.

Ten years ago, when we first moved to our house and a new school district, I stood and waited with them for the bus.

Then it became just bringing them to the stop, minus waiting for the bus.

Then it became them piling out of the car, saying so long to me and me driving off.

And now? The oldest is at college and the youngest, a high school junior, is driving himself to school — in his own car.

The transition from needed dad to dad as optional accessory has left me feeling bereft. In the vacuum that has been created, what’s next?

That uncertainty is scary because now I have more time (and psychic space) to find out more about myself and who I am supposed to be in this next phase of my life.

My wife described it as parenting as planned obsolescence.

If you do your job right, you are no longer strictly defined as being a dad, although, of course, you still hold that title no matter how old your kids get. It’s just that how the role is defined is dramatically different.

Perhaps in recognition of this, the first thing I should do is change the entry on my phone contacts from “boys” to “men.”

I am an Older Dad and That’s Okay

What follows is the tale of my inspiring, gripping, and emotional journey from fretful Older Dad to just plain old Dad. The subtitle should read “How I stopped Worrying and Started Being There for my Kids”

Okay, the story isn’t really all that gripping, and it isn’t very emotional either, but I do indulge in way more “prosaic introspection” than the author of this Wall Street Journal article—despite what the reader comments claim.

That being said, I believe my adventures in middle-age parenting might just lean towards the inspiring side.

I fall squarely into the “Older Dad” category having waited until the chronological age of 42 to make my wife large with child. I was, again chronologically, 46 years old when my spouse informed me I should start getting those diaper changing muscles loosened up again.

By the way, I stress “chronological” because if you ask any of my ex-wives or former girlfriends, they’ll argue that emotionally and intellectually I’ve yet to make it past my awkward teen years.

But never mind all that, let’s get back to the inspirational.

My guess is that there’s at least a full 15-year age difference between me and most of the other dads at the neighborhood playground. It doesn’t bother me much anymore but it was a constant concern when my daughter was a toddler.

There was more than a little self-consciousness about being a graybeard among all the young bucks and I was convinced all eyes were on the old geezer as he watched after his rambunctious daughter.

Maybe all those youthful poppas with their youth and their youthfulness secretly hoped I wouldn’t fall down and break a hip. I imagined they fervently wished to be spared the awkwardness of having to explain to their little ones why that old man was being carted away by the FDNY.

More and more, I found myself parking my butt on a bench and shooing my little girl away, insisting that she play with her new toddler friends.

It killed me every time my shmoopee hid her obvious disappointment and shuffled off to find a new playmate. My beautiful little daughter didn’t see a middle-aged man struggling with his insecurities, all she wanted to do was hang out with her poppa.

The transformation into a hesitant putz that worried about what others would think was complete. Where was the confident and ballsy Bronx kid who insisted on playing by his own rules?

Thankfully, that kid showed up again just when I needed him most.

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It was a huge disservice to me and to my daughter. By creating imaginary slights and not experiencing the total joy of daddyhood with my baby girl while she still thought her grumpy old dad was the coolest guy in the world, I was losing out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I got my ass off that park bench and started playing with my sweet little Miss. I wore the pink boas and the princess crowns. I attended the pretend tea parties and unfailingly extended my pinky. I ran after her and paid little attention to how foolish or how silly I may have looked. I was a goofy dad and it was a blast.

Turns out those young fathers I was so concerned about could not have cared less.

The decision to wait until I was mature enough to raise a family was the right one. Oats were sown and challenges were undertaken and ya-ya’s were gotten out. That could not, and would not, have happened if there were mouths to feed at home in my younger days.

That’s not to say I don’t suffer the occasional flash of panic when the realization sets in that I’ll be close to 70 years old when my kids are in college. I’m keeping myself healthy and fiscally responsible for their future so there’s no use wasting time on worrying about things I can’t control.

What I can control is how much quality time I spend with them. I listen to their stories, tell them a few of my own, and act the fool.

When it’s my turn to kick it, I’ll kick it hard and with full-confidence knowing that I did all I could for my family.

Well, this was my inspirational story. The story of a family man with two young kids who is past the half-century mark, has no regrets, and will never suffer from the “what ifs”. He just took awhile to get there.

As the old neighborhood saying goes: I ain’t even sorry about it.

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AMR 09: It’s a Love Thing

Love is in the air despite the bitter cold and on this episode Chris and I present a survival guide that will help you make it through that most stressful of Hallmark holidays, Valentine’s Day, relatively unscathed.

While the entire AMR posse remain hopeless romantics, we believe that forced expressions of love on a single pressure-packed day is no way to tell the person that has your heart what they mean to you. Everyone should regularly make the effort to show your Significant Other just how much you care, regardless of the date.

All that being said, if your Significant Other is thrilled by anything and everything related to Valentine’s Day just grit your teeth and give ’em what they want. It’s only one day out of the year. My guess is they’ve earned a nice night out or that expensive gift.

Cowboy up and get to it, Loverboy!

As an aside, does anyone else find the idea of an armed baby with wings looking to fire a pointed stick through your heart as terrifying as I do?  No? Okay, it’s just me. Never mind…

Moving on from romantic love, we dove right into love of family with a discussion about being Dads.

I was in my 40’s when I started a family and spent many years wondering if I’d made the right decision having waited so long. Chris was in his 20’s when he became a father and wondered if he should have waited a few more years.

Did we make the right call? Take a listen and find out!

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