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A father’s job is to love

Happy Father’s Day! This is a very special day because fathers play a significant role in the lives of their children. It breaks my heart when I read the birth announcements and there are no fathers mentioned or the couple isn’t married and you fear for the upbringing that child is going to have. Will that child be loved by both the father and the mother?

You know from some of my other columns that mine was a close family, but we weren’t a “kissy kissy” family. I’m sure the babies got plenty of kisses, but as we grew older we showed our love by services and kindnesses. I think we only kissed if you were going to war or the hospital. Ha! You don’t have to be mushy to be affectionate.

There’s a lot more to playing the role of the father than affection. The father gives the household stability and security. Of course, he’s the role model for who his daughter chooses for a husband. The father has grave responsibilities. He’s a mixture of worker and comedian. He has to have a light side as well as a serious side. My father did rap music long before anyone heard of the word. He used to swagger around the dining room table talking in verse. He also made us aware of what was going on in the world. He made us listen to the news and we had a good sense of history.

Our father taught us to be proud of our work as long as it was respectable. We were all good workers. He was a good provider. Thanks to his eagle eye, we had plenty of rabbits and pheasants to eat. He taught us to respect guns, though. They were not toys!

One of the important aspects of his role as husband was that he adored our mother. The first thing he would do when he entered the house was to call her name. She was his security blanket.

I remember when my mother was having a bout of asthma. The doctor said she should go to a hospital in Buffalo. I found my father sitting in the rocking chair crying. He was afraid she was going to die. In those days we didn’t run to a doctor for every little thing and we only went to the hospital for serious conditions. Of course, she survived.

I had a good talk with our son Dan earlier in the week. I explained to him that I find it very hard to say “I love you.” When he and Rusty were babies and young I used to kiss them every night and say “I love you.” But as they got older they were embarrassed by my affections and asked me to cut it out. I did, but I never stopped caring. Dan used to tell me he always knew when he walked into the house and there was a baby on TV, I’d have that special look on my face. I love babies, and so do fathers.

If you are lucky to be a father today, kiss your children, tell them how lucky you are and love them!

Margaret Valone is a Fredonia resident. Send comments on this column to lifestyles@observertoday.com