Kathleen Norton

A special salute for three special men

Posted on: June 21, 2011

This appeared Sunday, Father’s Day, in the Poughkeepie NY Journal.

This is the day to honor fathers, and this year I salute Tom, Gerry and Luke – three dads from three different generations in our family.

The first is my dad, the second my husband, and the third is the father of my sunny and delightful granddaughters.

Tom was born right smack in the middle of the Greatest Generation. He grew up during the Depression and World War II and became a dad when the idea of a disposable diaper was science fiction.

His wife labored with their first child (that’s me) while he sweated down the hall in the waiting room. He was expected to be back at work ASAP, and by Child #5, he took to dropping his wife off and waiting for the call.

He did not know one end of a diaper from the other and nobody expected him to know such things. Yet, the responsibility of putting food on the table was his alone.

That’s just the way it was for the daddies of his day, in the place where we lived.

Gerry was born smack in the middle of the Baby Boomer Generation. He was among a new breed of papas called “birthing coaches.’’

He got to see the births of his three children, but was back at work within a day or two. The phrase “paternity leave’’ was being bantered about, but it was not yet in the dictionary.

Gerry probably had never seen a man change a diaper in his life yet there he stood at a changing table in the early 1980s, winging it and hoping for the best.

Many men of his generation have had partners when it came to bringing in the money, but in return they had to shoulder their share at home.

Some said it was grand and that it was about time that the “Mr. Mom’’ era had arrived. Others? Not so much.  They thought it was the ruination of society.

Turns out, they were wrong.

Like millions of other Boomer dads, Gerry paved the way for the daddies of today.

Luke is a member of Generation Y – which came after Gen X, if you keep track of these things. When his youngest was born three months ago, he took off two weeks to welcome her into the family.

Now, he walks in the door from work and does whatever needs doing – which is a lot in a household of young children.

Laundry, cleaning, baths, story time. He does it all.  Few men his age even know where the title “Mr. Mom’’ comes from, and even fewer question that they should be sharing the child care duties.

In the 50 years that span my dad’s days as a young father, and my son-in-law’s, the role of fathers has changed much.

But in the most important matter, these three are the same. No matter the generation, they have treated their wives and children with love and loyalty.

Those in their care have been lucky, and I wish a Happy Father’s Day to our family’s special dads, and to yours.

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7 Responses to "A special salute for three special men"

Bravo to the 3 special Dads in your life! The change in 50 years is amazing!

It really is amazing and hard to explain!

A very moving tribute to three good men. Well said. An evolution of sorts-in such a good way.

Nice tribute to 3 very caring and loving Dads!
Happy Father’s Day to all of them.
Thanks, Kathy!

I love this article Kathy ….
Kate

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