At Liuna Station, family comes first. We’d like to think that we appreciate our fathers every day of the year, but since it’s officially Father’s Day today, we wanted to make an extra effort to make sure all of the Dads out there know just how appreciated they are. Today, we think about all of the fathers, grandfathers, husbands, hardworking single Moms balancing both roles, the fathers who are no longer with us and for the men stepping up every day to take on the role of a father figure in any capacity. To all of the special men in our lives, we’d simply like to say, “Thanks”.
We recently caught up with Richard, a father to two daughters with nearly 35 years of fatherhood under his belt. We asked Richard what advice he has for soon-to-be new Dads, his favourite father-daughter memory and what it was like being the only man in a house full of women.
LS: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
RD: I have been married to the same woman for over 40 years (yes, she must have the patience of Job). We have two very successful daughters – both personally and professionally. I came to Canada as a young child. My wife is fifth generation Canadian. We both have post-graduate degrees and have had lengthy careers in our respective professional fields.
LS: What is your favourite part about being a Dad?
RD: That changes over time e.g. when my daughters were first born, it was fun to watch them take their various first steps like crawling, speaking, walking etc. It was also a lot of fun showing them off in public quite frankly. When they were older I really enjoyed taking them on holidays and exploring new areas be they in Canada or the States or overseas. It is immensely satisfying to see your children become good, contributing citizens to this country. Babies don’t come with instruction handbooks – it very often is learn-as-you-go. As a parent, you cross your fingers, do your best and hope they turn out alright.
LS: What has been the most challenging part?
RD: Their mother would obviously disagree, but for me the most challenging part (there have been very few) would be trying to coordinate my work schedule with the girls’ activity schedules especially when they were younger. There were probably a number of lesser challenges that I was not aware of that were taken care of by their mother.
LS: What was it like being the only man in a house full of women?
RD: Since I have known nothing else as a parent, everything has always seemed quite normal. I think I inherited my mother’s sensitive side so that probably helped me to understand the moods swings etc. as my girls were growing up. I have often commented to others that I have a well-developed feminine side thanks to living in a house full of women.
LS: Can you tell us one of your favourite father-daughter memories?
RD: For both girls one such memory would be attending their respective graduations from University. There are many, many great travel memories with the girls too – singularly one would be snorkeling with our older daughter in Fiji, one would be meeting up with our younger daughter in Paris part way through her time backpacking & training through Europe. As a family it would include the four of us sitting on a bench high in the Swiss Alps, looking out over the valley below signing the Beatles song that includes the words “… there are places I remember, all my life …”.
LS: What advice to you have for soon-to-be new Dads?
RD: My advice would be pitch in, help out and enjoy every moment – and take lots of pictures. Our children grow up so very quickly – scary quickly in fact. I would also say, teach them to be independent thinkers, teach them to chart and follow their own path. It is trite to say, but give them wings and let them fly. Your attitude should be, if you are happy, I am happy – whether it is a career choice, or a boyfriend or something as mundane as a hairstyle. Don’t try to re-live your life through them. Mistakes and missteps are bound to happen. That’s how we all learn – that’s an integral part of growing up.
LS: What are the biggest lessons you hope your daughters have learned from you?
RD: Biggest lessons – hmmm. Appreciate what you have and how much effort and sacrifice you, and others had to make to get there. Remember that there will always be people who have more than you and people who will have less than you. Treat people with respect. Be true to yourself. Be kind and generous without any expectation of acknowledgement or reward.
LS: How will you be celebrating Father’s Day this year?
RD: My one daughter took me out to lunch yesterday since she could not make it out today (Father’s Day). My other daughter and her partner will be joining my wife and me for an early dinner. Father’s Day is not one day a year for me – it truly is everyday.
We’d like to thank Richard for taking some time to chat with us today and for his wonderful words of advice. Again, Happy Father’s Day to all of you men out there, making one of the hardest (but most rewarding) jobs around, look easy.
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