I think back on the very few men in my childhood and the two men that helped raise me were my grandfather (Pepe) and my stepfather. My grandfather died when I was 13 so I never really got to express my feelings towards him and thank him for believing in me as a child and showing me love. My stepfather, Ed, was a great father and even though I resented him when I was a young kid and a teenager, I realized several years ago that he was a great father and instilled many values in me including discipline, respect and morals.
It's interesting to see Zachary growing up with many different male figures in his life. He has his father, Paul, who is the best dad anyone could want. If I were a child again and I could choose a dad, I would want my dad to be Paul. The love I see between Zach and Paul is unlike any father and son bond I have seen and it really touches me to see them together, smiling, laughing and expressing their love for one another. I do have to say that I would have loved to have that bond with my dad, but seeing it with Paul and Zach has healed a lot of what I didn't have - just to see it and be a part of it has helped me in so many ways.
Zach also has a "step-father" as well, Carrie's partner, Iggy. I really hope that Zach realizes what a great guy Iggy is and respects him as he gets older. I know what it's like to have a stepfather and grow up with someone taking the place of your dad - your very protective of your mom and you see the "step-father" as a threat and the "step-father" is the perfect person to take your anger out on when you realize that your parents are not together. It's a tough role to be in and the step-father is usually the bad guy no matter what they do. It wasn’t until I was in my early 20's that I realized that my stepfather was a great role model for me.
Zach also has a wonderful grandfather who he calls Pops. Grandfathers are the best in my eyes. Zach will get enough discipline from Paul and Iggy but grandfathers are most often not the disciplinarians and more of the gift givers, the 'candy under the radar' guy and all around loving type of caregivers. I loved my grandfather probably more than anyone in my childhood. I really hope that Zach has all of his childhood and a large part of his adulthood to really get to know his grandfather as much as he can. I also hope he gets the artistic gene from Pops too! ☺
And then I guess I will include me. I spend a lot of my time with Zach, mostly observing and admiring him. I know I have expressed this before but never in my life did I ever think I would have a child in my day-to-day life. I didn't think it was in the cards for me, but I am proud to say I have known Zach since he was 10 months old. I will never forget the first time I saw him - he was just a baby. Paul was my neighbor in Boston and we had just started dating. We really connected on the fact that we both didn’t have our father’s in our lives and we turned out pretty damn well. I think the fact that we both didn’t have our fathers makes us very sensitive and attentive to Zachary’s needs.
Paul then told me he had a son who was just a baby. I was taken back by it and was not sure how to react, but after I met Zach for the first time and I looked into his eyes - I was hooked. I said to myself - this feels right and I would be honored to be a part of Zachary's life. Almost four years have past since I have known Zach and looking back on the time I have spent with him - it has been one of the most rewarding experience and life changing for me.
I sometimes look at Zach and wonder what he will be like when he's a grown man, what will he think of his upbringing, which is not the conventional 'Mom and Dad' upbringing, but it's an upbringing filled with love and a wide variety of people who I think are all truly amazing. I wonder if he will be close with everyone that touched his life and realize how lucky he is to have all these people that love him. I hope that I am around to see special milestones in his life, like - graduating from high school and college, going on his first date, his first car, getting married and having his own children. It might be too early to predict, but I bet Zach will be a great father and I hope he will look back at some of the amazing men that influenced him throughout his life and draw from those experiences.
Happy Father's Day!