In arranging our weekend schedule, I asked Marc what his thoughts were for Father’s Day.
He said, “Well, I thought I’d still be a dad.”
I laughed and said, “Good idea.”
Marc has been a fantastic dad since he became one in 1991. The year had been a whirlwind; Marc had been hired at Merrill Lynch, we got married, and Eric’s unexpected announcement surprised us all.
At 23 years old, Marc eagerly took on his dad responsibility even before Eric’s summer arrival. One of the many traits I love about Marc is that he isn’t shy of a challenge or responsibility; perhaps he learned that from his father, Alan. Marc learned how to drive an 18-wheeler at a very early age from his truck-driving father. Perhaps Marc may have been too young to drive but he was eager to learn; his dad right there to guide him. Alan taught him how to double clutch the 13-speed, change a blown-out tire in Alaska, and rebuild a broken rear-axle that had fallen out on Highway 10.
Skilled at working around large machines, Marc had a job as a crane operator while going to college. His work buddies dubbed him ‘college puke’ as he’d study on his breaks for his finance degree. Though he was one of the youngest crane operators around, Marc’s mom prayed he’d use his college degree for finance; a safer route for her son.
And he did.
Marc still operated cranes every weekend because just a few months into his finance career at Merrill Lynch, we were expecting our little boy.
In between all that responsibility, he’d do whatever he could to prepare for Eric’s arrival; even sanding and re-painting his own old hand-me-down crib.
When Eric and Jena were little, I have to admit I wanted to spoil them. Marc would remind me to spoil them with love but don’t do things for them that they can do for themselves.
The responsibilities started small; make their beds, set their alarms for school, clear the dinner dishes, earn an allowance, and save up for what you want. We wanted them to know pride and dignity of earning something rather than the empty feeling of it being handed to you.
It took Eric a couple of years to save up for his snowmobile but he couldn’t have been more proud.
One day it didn’t work. Eric struggled to fix the problem but his frustration just grew. Marc carefully showed Eric which wires needed to be fixed, fixed them, but then proceeded to remove all the work he had just done. The snowmobile was back to being inoperable. Eric just about lost his mind.
“Why did you do that?!” he said in disgusted anger.
“Because I know how to fix it and you need to learn it for yourself. You saw what I did, and now you do it. I’m right here to guide you.” Marc said.
Eric not only learned how to fix his snowmobile that day, but also his four-wheeler when it broke, and eventually resolved many issues with his truck; Marc right there to guide him.
When Eric was in college, as a business finance major, it was apparent that he would follow the same career path as his father but he would need to earn his way there, nothing was given.
While at Marist College, Eric got a job at the local Credit Union. First, he worked as a bank teller, then was promoted to train other tellers, and later was promoted to be a Financial Service Representative where he could help clients directly. After a few years, he applied to Merrill Lynch. He had to undergo the recruitment process and hiring panel before he’d be considered for the job.
Today, Eric has earned the place next to his father as a licensed Financial Advisor, specializing in 401K, and helping others achieve their financial goals.
Responsibility runs deep in our family and now that Eric’s married, I know it won’t be long before his wife Kourtney asks him what he wants to do for Father’s Day and he’ll say, “Continue to be one.”
And he’ll be a wonderful dad; spoiling them with love, teaching them life’s lessons, and being right there to guide them every step of the way.
Happy Father’s Day to all the great father’s out there.
And to my father, Happy Father’s Day, Daddy, I love you!