Today’s entry in the #40Days40Dads campaign comes from my cousin1 Phil. We haven’t seen each other nearly enough in our adult lives–aside from family weddings and funerals, mostly–but Phil and his sister remain an essential part of my childhood memories. My brothers and I absolutely loved getting together with our cool slightly older cousins, because it meant that our parents would sit and talk all night, oblivious to the fact that there were two teams of spies battling it out in the house around them.2 I always dreaded when either one of our fathers would come find us late in the evening, because it meant it was finally time to break up the party and go home…even if we used our top-notch spying skills to try to hide from them.
I had a wonderful childhood filled with plenty of moments of imagination and play, but the good times with my cousins truly stand out in my mind for their ingenuity and fun. Based on his answers, I’m glad to see that Phil is carrying over that sense of imagination, wonder and fun in the parenting of his own children, while also recognizing the incredible importance of his role as a father. Thanks for filling this out and thanks for the memories, Phil!
Dad #13: Phil Giordano
Phil is the father of a 7.5-year-old son and a 4.5-year-old daughter.
What was the moment when you first felt like a father?
I think it was the second night in the hospital after our son was born. I was holding him in the chair next to my wife’s bed. It was quiet, everyone was asleep, and I knew in that moment for the rest of my life that nothing would ever be the same.
What’s your favorite part about being a father?
Being a father is a lot like being a superhero. You seem to have an incredible wealth of strength, knowledge, and resources when compared to your young kids. When all else fails, you can swoop in and scoop them up and save the day.
What’s the hardest part about being a father?
Discipline is difficult. Keeping your patience can be hard, but I think the hardest part is the feeling you get when you’ve inadvertently disappointed your kids.
What’s the dumbest/funniest thing that your kid has cried about or fought with you over?
Not wanting to pee in the bathroom because the bathtub reminds him of an airplane comes to mind.
What are you most proud of having taught/shared with your kids or what are you most looking forward to teaching/sharing with them?
It is difficult at times to stay back and let your child become themselves. Did you teach them enough? Did you instill in them enough of a sense of right and wrong? Are they going to be selfish or selfless? I think seeing them make a decision on their own that is truly good, and selfless, and sweet makes you feel like they are becoming a better person than you are.
What’s your favorite thing about your kids?
Being silly. Sometimes you’re running late or you’ve had a bad day, or parenting with them has been an uphill battle, but silliness is such a balm against all that. Being silly is the cornerstone of childhood and I feel sad for all the adults in this world who have forgotten its value.
If you could go back in time and give yourself a piece of advice when you first became a father, what would you say?
Don’t worry about what you’re doing so much, focus on just being there–being truly there in that moment at that particular time. You’ll never get that moment back. Don’t waste it.
Any other comments to share on fatherhood?
Kids need dads a lot more than I think our society believes we do. A good father sets the tone for what a man is and should be. In this world a father’s role gets downplayed to almost being another kid that mom has to raise, or a dimwitted fool, if he’s in the picture at all. A dad’s role is a crucial one and while being able to laugh at yourself is a valuable gift, don’t underrate your role or take it lightly.
If you’re a father or you know a father who would like to share his story, send him to this link to answer the questions. Stay tuned for another dad’s crib notes tomorrow!