For God’s sake, hug them

Father’s Day is Sunday, and traditionally it’s a time to express love, thanks and respect for our beloved dads.

I’d like to take the time this Father’s Day to express my love, thanks and respect to my kids for being wonderful human beings and for providing me with memories and adventures I otherwise never would have had.

Being a father is the thing of which I’m most proud in my life. It has a large influence on becoming the man I am today.

I was there for the birth of all four of my offspring — moments I will never forget; moments that were miracles before my very eyes. I’m not sure if Denise thought of it the same way at the time, but she does now. Completely understandable — I had the easy part; having my hand squeezed so tightly that it felt like I only had one large finger.

The main goal I had of being a father was not only to be a father, but a daddy as well.

It’s not easy. There are many moments of worry, concern and doubt. These are feelings that never dissipate, even with them in their 30s and 20s.

But the good moments far outweigh the bad.

The father moments were and are those of being a disciplinarian, a teacher, a provider, a role model, and a protector.

The daddy moments are my favorite. It was (and still is) when I am one of them. I don’t want anyone to think that I was and am just a friend to my kids. That’s not how it’s supposed to be. But there are times when it is right.

I treated each of my kiddies the same, yet today they are all so different, yet all family.

I treasured the days when I tucked them in at night and read to them: “Curious George,” “Oink and Pearl,” “Go Dogs Go,” and a plethora of other stories that I enjoyed as much as, if not more than, they did.

On those nights when I was particularly wiped out, I would skip pages figuring their little minds wouldn’t notice. That plan always backfired when they each stopped me mid-sentence and made me go back to where the story should have been.

I treasure the vacations we took and the misadventures we had — mostly on my part.

I treasure receiving hand-made cards for my birthday and Father’s Day, some of which are still in my office today.

I still remember, like it was yesterday, holding my youngest son, Davey, as his life crossed from this world to the next. I held him until I sensed his soul had made the journey.

I love being a father and love even more being a daddy.

Those moments pay off. My oldest son, Ben, recently took me out to a seafood restaurant, just he and I and we shared the best food and drink at a table by the sea. We talked and talked and laughed and laughed.

My oldest daughter Lauren warmed my heart when she invited me to play guitar with the band at her wedding reception. My rock and roll fantasy come true.

I still treasure the time Emilie and I are driving together and we share crazy stories, music trivia and laughs. We constantly text and exchange memes.

If you’re a young dad and reading this, or if you know of one, pass this along: Be a father and be a daddy. And never, ever be afraid to hug your child or children.

Hug them for God’s sake. Hug them for your sake. Hug them for their sake. It’s not hard, and it’s the best feeling in the world.

Older dads out there, hug your kids. If you never have, do it. Just open your arms and welcome them in. It’s the daddy thing to do. You just may be amazed at what you get out of it. 

And Larry, I send you a big old hug this Father’s Day, and thanks for teaching me how to be a father and a daddy.

© 2019 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing    †    Fall River, Massachusetts