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.

Comments 3

  1. Michael,

    Please remember you will always be a model daddy to many of us.

    Hard to believe the way your family has grown. I still remember attending a seminar when your wife was pregnant and you were so proud to announce it to us.

    I have you beat as far as number of children. I have six. None of my children are biological. Two were adopted and four are stepchildren. I will always wonder if I have been the dad I should have been.

    One of my hardest adjustments was becoming a grandfather. When I entered my second marriage I did not realize my wife’s grandchildren would call me grandpa. I now am adjusting to a new addition who will call me great-grandpa!

    Please keep us all informed as your family matures.

    John Olsrud

  2. One of the biggest charges I get is when my two daughters, both in their 40’s call me “daddy”. Of course, it comes more often when they are in want mode and are trying to wheedle me into doing something for them. Never the less, I still love it. And, I have to admit, it works almost every time.

  3. Mother hood is no different. I’m a mom of two son Shawn 28 , Aaron 23 who were both serving in the Army. I have one home out of the Military. It doesn’t get any easier as they get older. I now have to schedule with them to talk or have dinner out. Where as they were to dependent on me to have breaskfast / lunch / dinner ready for them everyday. Now the refrigerator is empty most of the time. When I do cook they enjoy the motion of me being in the kitchen, it was a rude awakening when I finally figured out that I was the one going through the motion of filling the emptiness in my nest. I was left with al the food I cooked as they walked out saying be back later, smells good friends and I are going out for dinner. Love you son / Love you Mom as they leave the front door. Light bulb moment

    Kathy Lyons
    Army Mom

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