By Pamela Brownstein
I realized early on in my dating life that I was in trouble: It was going be hard to find someone as great as my dad. He set the bar high for me with his kindness and love and the sacrifices he made to ensure his family had all the things he didn’t have when he was growing up.
For more than 20 years, his commute to work was more than an hour each way from our home in the New Jersey suburbs to his office in New York City. But he never came home disgruntled or distant; we always ate dinner together as a family and after “Jeopardy,” (which he always knows the answers) he would help us with our homework.
At a time when many of my friends’ parents were going through divorces, my mom and dad’s relationship was solid and special. He always made her laugh and supported her choices. He was the strong, silent match to her social, outgoing personality, and for a long time I never thought I would have what they had. But by some miraculous Divine intervention, I managed to find a man who embodied many of the qualities I admire in my dad — a subtle sense of humor, intelligence, patience and loyalty — without being too much like him.
I have been fortunate enough to watch my husband Daniel grow from an easy going reporter to a loving partner to a devoted Da-da to our 17-month-old toddler, Wolfe.
It’s hard to describe how supportive and involved Daniel has become in his son’s life. He takes the early shift and wakes up with Wolfe almost every morning — which is a big deal for someone who can sleep until 11. He lovingly makes Wolfe’s dinner on nights that I’m working, being careful to include a variety of healthy choices. And most recently, he is taking Wolfe to baby swim class (no easy task considering the little guy likes the water about as much as a cat). Daniel never complains about his duties, and even after a long day at work, and with grad school homework waiting, he always takes the time to read books to Wolfe before bed and to tuck him in at night.
After my mom died in 2010, my relationship with my dad changed, for the better. It took a long time for me to get past my own grief to realize how much my dad lost — his best friend and confidante — and that I might not agree with his way of doing things, but he’s doing the best he can. Although he misses my mom, he’s not alone because my grown sister still lives at home with her 10-year-old son. At 65, my dad hardly has the life of a retiree, and I have more respect for him because he takes care of their daily needs, and also helps my 88-year-old grandma, who lives in an independent living home in the same town.
Still, with all that on his plate, he always makes time to talk to me whenever I call. His relationship with Wolfe will melt anyone’s heart; even though we live far away, we Facetime at least once a week and Wolfe always smiles and gets excited when he sees his Grandpa Tex.
This Father’s Day, I want to thank my dad for giving me so much and showing me what it means to put family first. And I want to thank my husband for all of his love and support and for reminding me daily that I couldn’t have asked for a better father for my children. I am blessed to have them both in my life.