By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi
First, I would like to extend a major shout out to all the fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and surrogates out there who are loving, kind, and have fun with their offspring. Next, I would like to extend a major boo, hiss, and toss of rotten tomatoes to those fathers who have shirked their responsibility to their children. All I can say to those is, “You have lost big, with a capital B.” Maybe your children will want to look you up some day, but more often than not, they won’t. Why should they bother about you, when you were too busy attending to your narcissistic self throughout their childhood and adolescence?
However, back to the fathers who do and did take note of their children by doing the fatherly thing. I recall a conversation my brother had with one of our cousins. They were discussing their fathers. Our father was from Italy, and our cousin’s from Lebanon [well, he practically was since he was born shortly after his parents emigrated]. Both our father and our uncle had an incredibly strong work ethic. Their sense of family equaled that too. Yet neither our father, nor our uncle ever pitched baseball to their sons; they rarely sat through one of their sons’ Little League games. What they did do, though, was talk with their sons, listen to them, help them, paid for their college degrees, laughed with them, and instilled in them both an unshakable belief in the power of family.
It occurred to me probably our father didn’t pitch ball to my brother because he didn’t know how. In Italy he was apprenticed as a shoemaker at the age of ten. He didn’t really have the idyllic childhood Americans like to fabricate for their children. The only time I remember our father talking about any kind of play time was when he mentioned how he and his friends in their remote village used to take sticks and push around whatever they could find. My brother played with his children and with my daughter throughout their early years and during their teen years. In their undergraduate years, he rallied them for tailgating, took them for dinner at his favorite pizzeria, listened to them about their travails and their successes; no one looked prouder than he did at their graduations. I think my brother had a fine role model in our father because my brother Frank has an ironclad work ethic and an implacable sense of family. My brother shines as an exemplary father model to follow. So did our father.
Ciao for now.