1) My Dad
Who lived a long life of sacrifice--first for his country (pictured here), and then for his family. Dad worked nights for a long time, giving up time with his wife and kids because he could earn more money for them by working at night. It was not easy being my Dad's daughter. He was strict, and he could be cruel. But, he also provided me with a model of honesty and morality, and he sometimes gave me true tenderness when I needed it most...those were rare, special moments when he let his guard down.
2) My brothers...
(this photo was taken over 11 years ago, when my Dad turned 80. All the siblings except Pat are in the picture).
...Steve, Mike and Kevin (Tim was wise enough to get a dog instead of have a baby). I can see Dad in them, perhaps especially in the way that Steve and Kevin have "soft spots" for their daughters. (Mike only had a son, but he dotes on Anya whenever he sees her). Yet I also see more gentleness and steadiness in my brothers than I did in Dad. they have done well to live up to the best of Dad and to avoid many of his faults.
3) Nick (of whom I only have a 23-year-old photo, and it's back in MA).
Ah, Nick. My academic "Dad," mentor, and dear friend. Nick, understanding what it's like to have academic talent and be from a blue-collar background, took me by the hand and guided me to this life. He stuck with me and cheered me on. He was the first person (even before my parents) that I called after I defended my dissertation. He also is the friend who can most readily make me laugh--really, really laugh--even when I've had a horrible day.
4) Last, but of course most important: Howard.
Father to my children and my partner for many years. I don't even know where/how to begin. Howard is a true co-parent. Many men claim that, but Howie really lives it in the true spirit of equality. He gave me beautiful children, and has stuck through hard years to join me in...well, not an easy place (that doesn't exist in parenting), but in a good one. He's also a fun person to co-parent with:
- He invented "Old Man Chuck" in our story telling game (which ony he, the kids and I understand, so don't even try)
- He can make children's board games incredibly fun for kids and grownups alike
- His nickname for Anya as an infant was "Shark Bait" (to explain: Samuel was, at the time, obsessed with the movie "Finding Nemo.")
Who do you think of on Fathers' Day?