Memo From Michael: The Loss of Daddyhood

I’ve written extensively about my children. I have five of them: four teenage girls and a son approaching 40 (impossible to believe). I’ve written less about them lately for several reasons: 1) they are not quite as cute; 2) they say really clever things less often; 3) they are much less interested in spending time with me. And, the biggest blow of all: 4) no one calls me Daddy any more.

OK, that may seem stupid and sentimental, but I loved being called Daddy. Father, Pops or Dad is often accompanied by a request of some sort or an expression of disbelief that I am so unreasonable or so lame.

Still, I love my kids as much as ever and struggle to find opportunities to play a positive, meaningful part of their lives. It’s not always easy. My son Justin shares his birthday with my hero, Abe Lincoln, and won’t go to a movie with me because any movie I might like he hates. I did have a fantastic time with my eldest daughter, Samara (an NYU sophomore), on our recent trip to Southeast Asia and I’m trying to bribe the others to pick a destination for similar excursions. It’s tough because daughter #3, Carissa, is going to Cambodia this summer to work at an orphanage (last summer it was Ghana). Daughter #4, Mataya, my baby, is definitely no baby anymore. She is deeply into being 14 — need I say more.

Daughter #2, Abrielle (an 18-year-old senior), has just picked a college, Pratt Institute — also in New York, of course. But, she actually asked me to work with her on the commencement address she will deliver (if she’s selected) later this year at her graduation. She delivered her 8th grade commencement address when graduating from middle school and got a standing ovation!

As you might imagine, I’ve spent a great deal of time with my children teaching and urging them to be people of character. My daughter Abrielle apparently thought I meant, be a character. She and a friend started a web series (I didn’t even know what that was). This first webisode blew me away. I think it’s a hilarious parody on an all-girls school. OK, I’m a dad and maybe not objective, but take a look and tell me if I’m wrong. If you like it, please share this. She deserves the exposure.

So, I’m adjusting to the transition from being Daddy (the center of the world) to the Father of —–, and simply basking in the light of their glory.

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