Father’s Day

Father’s Day is bittersweet around our house, since my dad passed away in 1992 and my wife Kathy’s father died a few years later. My kids never got to know their grandfathers, and in a way I never got to know these two men as well as I should have.

I was 31 when my dad, Patrick Pearse O’Regan Sr., died of cancer and congestive heart failure and hadn’t yet reached that stage where I truly appreciated – or thanked him for – all the things, large and small, that he did for me over the years. Neither of us were big talkers, so we didn’t share a lot of Hallmark moments between father and son. (Our sex talk came when I was 17 and had been dating a girl for a few years. One night he asked, “Are you sleeping with her?” “Nope,” I lied. “Good,” he said. “Don’t do anything stupid.” That was that.) We called him The Big Guy, and he led by example, not by words. Not all of his examples were the best, but he taught me the value of hard work, the benefits of a sense of humor and, indirectly at least, the importance of family.

Robert “Dave” Davidson, my father-in-law, was both gregarious and laid back, two traits you might expect from a Californian. Our physical distance – Kathy and I lived in San Diego for a few years but moved back East in 1986 – kept “Mr. D” and I from bonding, but I always enjoyed his company and his perspectives, and he seemed happy with his daughter’s choice of a husband. Dave was healthy as a horse and amazingly active with his wife Helen until multiple myeloma took him swiftly and shockingly. I wish I had the chance to get to know him better.

So now I try to spend more time with our three kids, asking them a lot of annoying questions, coaching their teams, driving them everywhere, and just being there if they need me. We had a good Father’s Day this year – waffles for breakfast, a day game at Fenway Park, a quiet night at home. Somewhere, I hope the Big Guy and Mr. D are happy with what they see down here.

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3 thoughts on “Father’s Day”

  1. Leave it to you, Brother Rob, to capture the sentiments of the day. Nice to know that Dad spent more time with you on the “sex talk” – probably was concerned you were more promiscuous!(or he knew I was too naive to have warranted the chat).
    You got the short end of the deal with Dad dying as young as he did as he left his youngest with the youngest grandchildren with a void. But I am sure he recognizes that from above and will keep tabs and eyes on you and the NH O’Regans for years to come – he was with you when Bonds hiy the homerun at Fenway and my guess is you recall he was a big Giants fan before they left NY for San Francisco (part of his dislike for the Yankees. Dave was also a great Dad and giver of self. You’ve been fortunate to have both in your life. Stay well and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Little Brother Rob,
    You brought me to a standstill with this one, yet chuckling at your superior job of “lying” to the Big Guy. (He knew, by the way. He just asked to satisfy Mom’s curiosity…)
    My sons always enjoyed their “Papa” and his antics,but your children will see many fine qualities from you also, the sense of humor,the importance of family. And you can relay some of the funnier stories when they get a little older! When I listen to your quiet wit, I think of Dad.
    Always remember how important a Dad is in a child’s life. He truly was in mine.
    A fine Soul-searching piece Rob. Your children are so very lucky to have you as their Dad.
    Happy Father’s Day Rob-

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