Who remembers the TV show “My Two Dads” starring Greg Evigan, Paul Reiser and Staci Keanan? It was the story of two dads (not homosexual) raising a teenage girl because neither of them knew which one of them was her biological father.
I have two dads. I have two moms. Most people raise their eyebrows when I tell them this. I have my mom and my dad and then I have my aunt (my mom’s sister) and her husband, my uncle. All four had a hand in raising me and my two dads have influenced me all my life.
I was thinking about this driving home today. Drama is not my strong suit and there are times when I feel I’m in it up to my ears with my ex-husband. My normal self-evaluations began and I started to think about what I really want in a man. Since every girl usually dreams of marrying a man like her dad, I began to think about these two men.
My memories of my father are precious. As a little girl, I would dress up on Sunday and attend Mass with him and my grandmother. Afterwards, we would go out for breakfast. This was my favorite time because of the conversations we would have. I loved them! Then there was those times I would sit in his office with him listening to the opera Tosca and wishing I could sing like the lead soprano. He had a booklet with the words to the opera in it. One side was in English and the other side was in Italian. I used to try to learn Italian to make him proud of me. Each night, I would pray that God would put the knowledge in my head (without me having to actually work for it).
My father taught me the box step which I imaged was a waltz. (I’m still not much of a dancer.) At my freshman Father-Daughter dance, he watched me jump about wildly with all my friends until the slow dance came. Then we danced, my dad and me, that famous box step. It was the same dance I did at his wedding to my step-mother.
Classical music was also very important. The first movie I ever saw with my dad was Fantasia. I still love that movie to this day! If you haven’t seen it, rent it! You won’t be disappointed. Those images in my head filled me with joy and wonder. The french toast I afterwards filled my belly and made me sleepy! Dad also took me to my first opera. I remember being so excited and wanting to be so fashionable, I bought a stupid, silly black hat with tulle on it! I must have looked ridiculous but whatever the effect, Dad said I looked elegant.
Travel is another love my dad instilled in me. Our trip to Italy a few years ago was amazing. It was a chance for me to see a side of my dad I’ve never seen. Italy is magical, beautiful, historic and the people are amazing. I’m so proud to come from such flavorful people. I’m very proud of my dad.
Then there’s my uncle – my other dad. He was my Rob Petrie! My aunt was my Laura Petrie. They were perfect – still are! She worked inside of the home, cooking, cleaning and caring for us kids and he worked an important job downtown. Living with them provided me with a soothing sense of balance and stability. There was always a routine. Play until dinner. Then play some more until Mom called you in. Bathe and have ice cream while watching MASH with my uncle. I remember taking that show to heart knowing my uncle served in the Vietnam War.
Working a full day never deterred him from playing with us. He was my on-the-floor dad. I flew through the air on the bottom of his feet and learned to dance by standing on the top. I remember sitting on his shoulders while he scooped low to make sure my head didn’t against the ceiling. He taught me to catch – well, he tried. And when my 16th birthday came and no one showed up for my party, he swooped in, like a knight in shining armor, and took me out for dinner. We had sparkling conversation and he became my hero!
We went to see a movie and I mentioned how much I liked the song that was playing over head before the movie began. My uncle, aka my hero, jumped up and actually went and asked the manager if he knew what song it was so that I could eventually buy it. The song is long gone from my memory but his actions have never left me. I watched the myriad of emotion play over him as we saw “Good Morning, Vietnam” in the theatre. One minute, there were tears of remembrance, the next minute he was singing along with the movie.
I won’t ever forget these times with these two precious men. I’m blessed to have them with me still and look forward to more times ahead!
Recently, my dad asked me if I ever considered getting married again. My reply was no because there is hardly such a man who is the perfect combination of these two.
You see, I want a man who knows what family is and values family to such a degree that he will welcome his mother-in-law into his home for most of his married life.
I want a man who loves to travel and is passionate about culture.
I want a man who sees God’s beauty in science.
I want a man who cries at Tosca and gets chills listening to Tchaikovsky.
I want a man who screams colorful metaphors at the TV while watching the Bears play.
I want a man who, within five minutes of sitting down at Soldier’s Field, is instantly friends with everyone around him. And everyone is named, “Guy”. (As in, “Hi, Guy!”)
I want a man who will do the twist with me and laugh the whole time!
I want a man who will box-step waltz with me.
I want a man who is educated in the arts.
I want a man who knows a good bottle of wine.
I want a man who drinks rum and coke at family parties (but never gets drunk).
I want a man who would shove another against the wall for calling his wife a nasty name.
I want a man my daughters can look up to.
I want a man…like my two dads.