My father was the apple of my eye. He stood six foot three inches tall and as far as I was concerned, he hung the moon.
My brother and I were blessed to have him as a father as he always made everything fun. The simple act of putting on pajamas and getting ready for bed became an adventure.
a super hero
Standing at the top of the stairs looking down on my brother and I as we stalled the nighttime bedtime ritual of brushing our teeth and putting on our PJs, our Dad would declare at the top of his lungs, “You have heard of Superman! You heard of Batman! But, have you ever heard of Pajama Man?”
He would then run down the stairs wearing his mismatched Sears and Roebuck men’s pajama set singing a nonsensical Pajama Man song he made up and chase us around the living room until he caught and tickled us. The game was not over until he made us laugh hysterically.
My father had nick names for us both. I was Nurse Mary Simpson and my brother was Monk Coogan and together we would battle the Pajama Man. If we won, we would get to stay up a little longer and perhaps finish the episode of The Love Boat we were watching. If he won, we had to get ready for bed. This was an almost nightly ritual that we all looked forward to. Whether or not we got to stay up later was completely unimportant to us because the appearance of Pajama Man made us forget any tv show we wanted to watch. We were, after all, in the presence of a real life super hero.
Whether he was the Pajama Man or just plain Dad, he was larger than life with his charismatic, over-the-top personality and physical stature. So it was no surprise that when he became a grandfather, he was called Big Daddy.
The tradition continues
My childhood was made memorable by my Dad and my children had the opportunity to be blessed by their Big Daddy.
My children were also blessed by their Dad, known to the rest of the world as John. In many ways, John was a lot like my father. He loved to play games with the kids and was very involved in their lives.
Most of the time he was the preferred parent. After-all, Mom was all about the rules. I was the enforcer. Things like cleaning their room, doing their homework, and making sure they ate all their veggies fell in my domain. Getting dirty playing in the mud, shooting basketball and riding on the dog’s back was all done with Dad at the helm. No wonder why he was their favorite.
Yes, both my brother and I, and my three children, were very blessed to have amazing, loving and playful Dads. The importance of a good father in a child’s life cannot be overstated. I could throw a lot of dry statistics out there to support my statement, but, I will spare you boredom. Furthermore, if you had a great father or if you are a great father you probably already know how important they are.
Anyway, the years would pass and Big Daddy died. He left a huge hole in our lives. A hole filled with great memories.
When our son became a father, he turned to his Dad and said, “I want my children to call you Big Daddy.” It was probably one of the biggest compliments my husband John could have ever received.
Big Daddy 2 and 3
While John has the same fun personality of my father, he does not share his size advantage. My Dad was six foot three and weighed 225 and John is only five foot eight and 180. Hardly the picture of a man you would call Big Daddy, he accepted the name as the compliment it was intended to be.
That was two and a half years ago and when you see John with our grandson, it only takes a minute to understand that the Big in Big Daddy has nothing to do with the size of the man and everything to do with the size of his heart.
Watching them together is one of the greatest joys of my life, but, an even greater blessing is seeing our son with his son and knowing that he, too, is a wonderful father. Sure enough, one day he will also have the honor of being called Big Daddy.
To all the wonderful Dads and Grandfathers- thank you. May you all be known as Big Daddy. Life is mysterious.