As we prepare to celebrate Father's Day later this month, I spent some time thinking about my own grandfather, my father, myself as a father, and now myself as a grandfather.
I have two children, Jeana and Jason, twins who are now 29 years old. And I know that my experience may not necessarily be true for all fathers turned grandfathers, but I can honestly say that my experiences being a father and a grandfather are very different.
BEING A FATHER
Fathering my two children was a challenge, because they were born when I was 39 and also pursuing my career goals as an attorney and building my law practice. I immersed myself in my work, often getting home late from work, after my kids had already gone to bed. All that work was worthwhile in that it provided for my family and allowed their mother to stay home and care for them. But, in retrospect, I wish I had spent more time with them.
I did my best to attend my children’s teacher’s conferences, school recitals and sporting events. However, I mainly was a weekend “good times” Dad. I realize it was much the same for my own busy father when I was growing up. I’m sure I learned from him the model of hard work and long hours during the week and fun times on the weekend. It's how he showed our family he loved and cared for us. So, I followed suit.
I also learned from my Dad that being a father involves a delicate balancing act between enjoying your children, and also being their parent. Teaching them right from wrong, morals and principles. At times, having to sometimes be the "bad guy". Not always being their favorite person, but always having their back and being someone they can talk with and count on when needed.
BEING A GRANDFATHER
I now have the privilege and honor to be the grandfather to two boys ages 7 and 9. And this experience for me has been dramatically different.
First, I am at a different place in my career and life. I am no longer working nearly as many hours as I was in my 40's and 50's. This has made me so much more available and accessible to helping out and being present with my grandkids.
But, the other component of being a grandfather is... I enjoy the exalted title of “Grandpa”! I get the job of being the fun one and taking the kids out on adventures and excursions, but then hand them over to their Mom and Dad at the end of the day for the “tough love” and I get to do it all over again the next time I see them. The responsibility and pressure that you have as the parent is lifted. And, don't get me wrong, grandparents still need to do their fair share of teaching, disciplining and "parenting" but it's just so much different.
It’s kind of cool that my two grandsons will talk about many disparate and unrelated subjects (and important timely opportunities) and confide in me about things they never would talk about with their parents! I am sure that many other fathers turned grandfathers (and mothers turned grandmothers) have experienced this type of wonderfully different relationship.
PASSING ALONG THE SAME TRADITIONS
Some of the best memories I have with my own father involve going to football games with him as a young boy. I grew up in a small rural, farm town, so we often went to the local high school football games. But, I'll never forget when I was 8 years old and my father took me to the big city (Philadelphia) to see my first professional game (the Eagles). Just as we were about to sit in our seats, the opening kickoff was high in the air and the crowd erupted as the Eagles player caught and returned it for a touchdown! I was immediately hooked on going to football games with my Dad, which continued even in college and beyond.
When my own son was 4 years old, I was able to pass down this same father-son bonding sports tradition. At the time, here in Los Angeles we did not have our own professional football team anymore, so I took my son to a professional hockey game. Immediately, our mutual love for the Los Angeles Kings was born and is something that we still share to this day.
Now, as a grandfather, this father-son tradition and experience was something that I wanted to be sure to pass along to my grandsons. I have taken both of them to many Los Angeles Kings games since they were young. It’s our special time together. In particular, they love going down to the glass before each game and seeing the players up close (and getting pucks tossed to them by the players!). Now they’re hooked on hockey, too!
Although the COVID lockdown has kept us from attending games this past year, we have found other fun activities to enjoy together, including riding bikes along The Strand, boogie boarding and playing backyard hockey! We’re planning on an overnight trip to Disneyland this summer - - just us!
Being blessed with the opportunity to act both as a father and a grandfather has brought me a great deal of love, joy and meaning to others’ lives, as well as mine. It also reminds me that the years and years of hard work in my career and building Kavesh, Minor & Otis not only has allowed me to enjoy these grandfather years, but it also has helped many other local families love, enjoy and take care of the people that mean the most to them.