When I was younger, I imagined being married at 24, kids at 27. Hitting these milestones would have had me preparing for my child’s first college tuition payment next year. Instead, I am chasing a semi-domesticated 2-year-old boy around our house at the tender age of 44 and expecting twins in less than two months. Fatherhood has always been my destiny, despite being off schedule by 17 years, but it wouldn’t be the same without the influence and inspiration of other dads before and with me.
A salute to my fathers
I was the child of a single mother, my father lived in Peru and I only met him twice when I was two. She then married Art, with whom we immigrated to Baltimore, MD. Unfortunately, their marriage ended when I was six, but before they went their separate ways she asked Art if he would like to remain connected to me as a dad. His decision to do so, which was followed by a lifelong commitment was the kindest thing anyone has ever done for me. He truly was the dad he never had to be and I can’t thank him enough for his presence, strength and love throughout my life.
My mother married Rajinder (Reggie) when I was in high school. They had been together for years and Reggie had so graciously integrated us into his loving and gregarious Indian family. Despite me being quite mischievous as a boy he was patient and supportive with me. He encouraged me to cook and would always praise me by telling me ever so boisterously with his Indian accent, “Elias!! You should get married”. I only wish he could have made it to see me actually get married and become a father.
When I was 19 my mother sent me to Peru to meet my father, Enrique. I couldn’t remember well my interactions with him from when I was two, but I had an album of photos of us together, which my mother kept for me. I can remember the feeling I had when we hugged for the first time at the airport, like a missing piece had been reinserted into my life. The magical connection between a father and child that I now feel with my own son is unmistakable and as precious as anything in the world.
These are the cliff notes to my dad story. These men had a tremendous impact on the father I am today and will become in the future. It isn’t just my fathers who inspire me, I see and hear about dads doing amazing things all the time and leaving an indelible mark on their children as a legacy of their love. This is what some of the BSW team shared with me about their experience with Dad and being a Dad.
Eric Davis is an advisor and is also looking forward to being a dad later this year. He had this to say about the gifts his father shared with him “My father passed along a devout faith and belief in the ‘religion of the great-outdoors’. The more I think about it, the more similarities I see between a traditional religion and a religion based on appreciation for nature and being outside. It is in nature that he taught my brother and me about what is important in life, where we could find a place of ‘worship’ and spirituality, and somewhere to ‘ground’ ourselves.”
Becoming a dad fills us with a new purpose in life, Eric had this to say about it “When I think about our soon-to-be daughter, it strengthens my intent to become the best person I can be for her. I see my own life’s work in a new light, because I now have the point that sharpens me. In an attempt to become a better person, I’ve never had such a source for inspiration even though she isn’t even here yet!”
Raliegh Riddoch is an advisor at BSW and has two wonderful daughters. You can never be fully prepared for the way fatherhood will impact you, and he had this to share:
“What surprised me the most was how much love I felt for my girls – each one. Being a dad changed my life in the most positive ways.” I asked Raleigh what advice he might impart on the new fathers in the BSW family, and he had this to say “Be honest, transparent, vulnerable with your kids – and say you’re sorry when you mess up.”
Aaron Deitz is a portfolio manager in the investment group is looking forward to being a dad in October. He says “ I’m most excited to be able to teach my kid to ski/snowboard at a much earlier age than when I started so they can beat me down the hill by the time they are 10 ” Be careful what you wish for Aaron!
Craig Seidler is a portfolio manager at BSW and the father of two impressive young adults. Responding to what in his childhood shaped him the most as a father, Craig had this to say:
“My Dad was always there for me, even though he was a young doctor and on call most of the time. He made time to help coach my soccer and Little League teams and was the one who introduced me to fishing. He also gave me two gifts that I will treasure forever – he instilled in me a deep respect for nature and for all other human beings. “Treat others how you would like to be treated” was not just a mantra in our family, we lived it through my Dad’s actions and words.
These qualities most definitely shaped who I am as a father of two; Emma (19) and Jack (17). I also have coached Little League and now mountain biking at Jack’s high school. Emma has decided to follow in her grandfather’s shoes and help others through becoming a doctor. As a sophomore at CU in Boulder, she started the school’s first Doctors Without Borders chapter and is passionate about helping others less fortunate around the globe.”
Molly Devnani is the Director of Reporting at BSW. She shared her perspective on her father’s role in her life.
“I most respect and admire his whimsical curiosity and pursuit to keep learning—be it new types of meditation, Faraday’s Law of Induction, learning Chinese (my mom’s native language), knowing every single person by name at our local grocery store. He always had time for/prioritized my questions and as a result, I grew up with a constant stream of fun facts about the physics of cricket (followed by a live backyard lesson), Indian cuisine ingredients, how shower pressure works. . . the list goes on and on (I seriously remember each of these conversations).”
A father’s perspective is valuable, sometimes we don’t appreciate it until years later. Molly shared some of the memorable observations her dad made growing up.
“On the concept of sleepovers. . . “I just don’t understand why you have to sleep there. We can pick you up after you’re done even if it’s late. Don’t you want to sleep in your own bed?”
On a messy room. . . instead of CLEAN YOUR ROOM! My dad always took a different approach. “Molly, there are five great element in Hinduism: earth, water, fire, air, and space. Space is god. Without a clear space, you are imbalanced.”
On attending prom. . . My prom date asked me to the dance by writing all over my driveway with chalk and leaving flowers. I asked if I could go (because in my culture you need to ask about these things). After thinking about it, my dad said I could go as long as it wasn’t going to become a distraction.”
Julia Wentworth is an Associate Advisor at BSW, she recently joined our firm and shared a touching story about her dad, who sadly passed eight years ago. While digging through some files on his recent death anniversary, she came across a card he had written to her. He had this to say to:
“As you know, life is full of challenges, and sometimes set-backs and heartache. Do your best to find happiness in every day. Do your best to keep the balance between loving and caring for others, and for yourself. Do your best to find the balance between pushing yourself and nurturing yourself. There are no easy answers, so it’s ok to be open to the mystery.”
While he is not here today, her commitment to fulfilling these words would make him smile.
Drew Simon co-founder of BSW and Senior Advisor/Guru/Mentor
Drew has a knack for distilling life concepts into memorable sayings. He is the father to three impressive adult children. So it came as no surprise when he shared a few words of wisdom with me on fatherhood.
“You know you’re doing a good job when each child believes they are your favorite.”
“As a parent, you’re only as happy as your least happy child.”
“There are very few problems that can’t be solved by unconditional love and common sense.” (Thank you Debi Baydush)
“Keep breathing; it will be ok”
Thanks Drew, I needed those. Two-year-olds are like an emotional training gym for parents. They make you stronger and better.
So here is to all the fathers out there. Thank you for the commitment, interest, and love you shared with us to make us who we are today. We’ll do the best we can to carry it on.
Happy Father’s Day!