Jun 17

It Wasn’t Like This When I Was Growing Up! #FathersDay

I had a fairy tale childhood, right up until my mom died when I was 17. At that point, my dad took over as both mother and father and he did an amazing job. More than amazing. I have written many times about the greatness that is my dadย (including my ESPNW story about his escape from Cuba) but today, in honor of Father’s Day, I want to touch on what I call:

The Greatness of My Dad Part II – Being A Grandfather

Papi and his two best buddies!

Papi and his two best buddies!

I had two sets of grandparents when I was growing up and, I never had anything even close to the experience with either of them, that my kids have with my dad.

When we were in Italy, we had the pleasure of sharing our cooking class experience with two women from London. When they met all of us, and found out we were all traveling together as a family, one of them said “What an amazing experience for your kids to have with their grandparents!” Yes. Yes it was.

Enjoying dinner as a family in Sorrento.

Enjoying dinner as a family in Sorrento.

I know some grandparents who have an attitude of having already raised their kids and don’t want too much involvement with their grandkids. That is pretty much what my experience with my grandparents was. Boy are they missing out! My dad and stepmom are the complete opposite. If it takes a village to raise a child (or two), then they are my village and I’m so privileged to have them be such a huge part of our lives.

When I was a kid…

My grandparents didn’t take me for a walk let alone go skiing with me, even though my brother and I skied quite a bit…


On our annual trip to Okemo!

On our annual trip to Okemo!

And, my dad does not ski so he’s definitely there to just be with his boys and his family…but really he’s just there for the boys.

When I was a kid I was kind of afraid of my granddad and would never have…

Asked him how to spell penis.

Asked him to have “breakfast cookies” which are really just cookies…for breakfast.

Asked him to tell me stories about when he was a kid growing up.

To tuck me into bed at night.

To wake up with me in the morning.

To always be there and never leave.

These are all things my boys have asked my dad. And yes, they eat breakfast cookies despite Memere’s disapproval.

Papi is really just a big kid so...

Papi is really just a big kid so it works out well.

When I was a kid my grandfather never taught me um…pretty much anything…

There are so many tangible things my dad has taught the boys (fishing, how to tie a rope belt, how to swing and climb, how to tell a good story) but it’s all the intangibles that will stay with them throughout their lives. My dad is the very best person I know and the more my boys can learn from him about how to treat other people, the power of giving and how to be eternally grateful, the better off they will be.

Teaching the boys to fish in Lake Winni last summer.

Teaching the boys to fish in Lake Winni last summer. Vaughn may or may not have his hands down his pants. There’s always a possibility of that.

It’s never too late to be involved with your kids and especially your grandkids!ย I cannot tell you how muchย fuller our lives areย with my dad and stepmom in them and as a huge part of our family. My boys are incredibly lucky to have them in their lives but I know my dad (and stepmom) would argue that it is the other way around.



Hug your dad or granddad today!

Did you have a relationship with your granddad? Do your kids have one with theirs?


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  1. I love this! I had a good relationship with one of my grandfathers. Although I can’t say I’d ever ask him how to spell penis. Lol! The other – I couldn’t say two words to. He was a man of very few words! I would hope my kids have a better relationship with my dad. It’s hard with them being so far away but when they do get to see him, it’s quite special to witness. My parents have offered to have the kids spend the whole summer with them. First of all, I think they are crazy. Do they know what they are getting into? And second, I’d miss my babies like crazy for 10 weeks! Can you imagine not having your kids around for 10 weeks? I wouldn’t know what to do with myself!! Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads and grandpa’s out there!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted…High Five FridayMy Profile

    1. Um, will they take my kids for 10 weeks? I can think of A LOT of things I could do with my summer ๐Ÿ™‚ LOL – totally kidding, that is way too long away from the munchkins!!

  2. That is truly awesome and I had no idea about your mother. It sounds like your dad did an incredible job though.
    Hollie recently posted…8 Things Runners Training Through the Summer UnderstandMy Profile

    1. Thanks so much Hollie. He absolutely did!…and continues ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Yes!! I had an amazing time with my grandpa, he was an amazing high level politician in Jamaica. He was my everything. He taught me how to play dominoes. I wish my kids could have met him!! My husband’s father loves my kids to pieces. It brings him so much joy when we visit. Enjoy your Father’s Day weekend!!
    Nellie recently posted…Rest Before Marathon Training + Mini 10k Recap!My Profile

    1. Oh I love that you had that relationship with your grandpa! And I really love that your kids are enjoying the same. It’s such a special thing! Happy Father’s Day to your husband!!!

    • Jess on June 17, 2016 at 7:16 AM
    • Reply

    A great tribute and incredibly heartwarming, and I am sure Miles and Vaughn’s future (very far into the future!) children will be just as lucky in that department as they are!

    1. Absolutely! I always tell them I hope they each have a set of twins. That would make my life complete ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thanks so much Jess and happy FIRST father’s day to Tim!!!

    • Kathie on June 17, 2016 at 7:34 AM
    • Reply

    My husband and I moved just to be near our little granbabies! Don’t want to miss a day of their lives!

    1. That is so amazingly fantastic!!!!! How lucky you ALL are! Just wonderful.

  4. This is soooooo sweet…. both my grandfathers died before I was born, and my grandmothers would tell me stories, but that is about as hands on as they got…. Maybe it was just a generational thing that is improving….
    Paria@momontherunsanity.com recently posted…Buckle UpMy Profile

    1. I’m sorry you never even had a chance to know them and, maybe it’s a generational thing but a lot of my friends have had great relationships with grandfathers and their parents are not so great or vice versa. I cannot figure it out, nor do I try, I’m just so grateful my kids have this experience.
      Happy Father’s Day to your dad and husband!

  5. This is the absolute cutest! Your dad is adorable. One of my grandfathers died when I was 6 months old, so I don’t remember him. The other is still alive, but he lived faraway, so I did not get to see him very much, and now he has very advanced Parkinson’s. I do have some very good memories with him, but they aren’t active memories – he’s like my dad and not inclined to move around too much ๐Ÿ™‚ I was fortunate to know my great grandfather, too – he was alive until I was 13, and I have a lot of wonderful memories with him. I think my dad would be an amazing grandfather, but that would require me to birth a spawn, soooooo…
    Danielle @ The T-Rex Runner recently posted…What to Do in AntiguaMy Profile

    1. From what I have read about your dad – he would totally be amazing! Let’s get this party started Danielle!! ๐Ÿ™‚
      And, I too had one great grandfather I knew but he was totally hands off and pretty much only talked about the tomatoes in his garden. Oh well.

  6. I love this! Your dad is adorable and just the sweetest! I was really close with both of my grandfathers, especially my mom’s dad. He would play with me all the time when I was young and we’d go to visit him in Chicago. He died of cancer when I was 9, which was an incredibly difficult loss for me to cope with, but I’m always grateful for the memories I had of exploring and playing outdoors with him.
    I think my dad would make a good grandfather, even though my parents living 2000 miles away would make trips seldom. Of course, that would mean actually having children, which isn’t going to happen soon…but he does spoil my fur-baby! Maybe too much, because Charlie gets fat every time we visit my parents.
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…5 Summer Vegetable RecipesMy Profile

    1. I cannot imagine how hard that was for you as a nine year old but at least you had some wonderful time and memories with him while he was alive! And I love that your parents spoil the dog!!! That is a sure sign they will spoil a child/children. And, you never know, they may move to be closer to their grand babies. Stranger things have happened ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Loved this and shared it.

    1. Love you and thanks, as always!

    • Ana on June 17, 2016 at 12:24 PM
    • Reply

    This is so precious! It brought back so many memories of my grandparents and how involved they were in our lives.

    Happy Fathers days to your Dad and Your husband!
    Ana recently posted…Friday 5 FavoritesMy Profile

  8. This post made me smile. That is all. ๐Ÿ™‚ I do not have a living grandfather. Passed away before I was born. And didn’t spend any time much at all with my father due to divorce and his poor choices. However, my son is so blessed with a dad and all kinds of grandparents! So this post really just made me smile!!
    Jess @ run pink recently posted…Hi-Five Friday: Hereโ€™s Your Virtual Dose of Happy!My Profile

    1. I’m so glad it made you smile and even more glad that your son is enjoying the relationship of a grandparents! Hope you had a great weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. What a great post! I was really close to my grandpa but my grandma died in a car accident when I was 8 and then my grandpa passed away shortly after of a broken heart. My paternal set of grandparents lived on the island and I didn’t care much for my grandmother (we nicknamed her “Nightmare Alice” as she was really mean). My grandpa was fantastic, but then I recently found out some really dark secrets about him that break my heart. I guess my story isn’t as nice as yours, but the cool thing about life is we get to reinvent our OWN stories. We get to write our own endings. And so that’s what I’m doing with my kids, and my one-day grandkids.

    Always cookies for breakfast!!! Always.
    Suzy recently posted…Itโ€™s Gonna StingMy Profile

    1. That is so sad about your grandparents and I so believe in dying of a broken heart. I sincerely hope they are together somewhere!
      My paternal grandmother was a monster as well. I only refer to her as “my dad’s mother” and she passed away before the boys were born.
      And YES, we do get to form our own stories, born out of what we love or hate about our families. Life is messy but there is so much good in the messiness!
      CONGRATS again on an amazing race!!! I cannot wait to hear all the details!

  10. Love this. I feel the same exact way. I was very young when my grandfather’s passed away, but I don’t remember any relationship like my dad has with my boys and it makes me so happy. They will have so many fond memories of him actually getting in the trenches and playing and being a kid with them! Love it!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…I’m alive!My Profile

    1. Absolutely!! It’s the greatest!!

  11. What a great Papi you and kids have!!:)

    I was blessed beyond fortune to have such counterparts being raised in Paris, France with my Maternal side GrandFather and GrandMother (Pater/Mamere). My Paternal GrandParents were stern and I felt towards them as you did towards yours. Asking anything about a penis would have gotten me excommunicated! (Very Catholic, my aunt was a Catechism teacher [I survived])!

    I grew up with a set of Parents in France until 13, and another set of Parents in America through the teens and beyond, pretty cool:)
    CLAUDE recently posted…Cycling weeks 9-12My Profile

    1. VERY cool! And, because my stepmom is French Canadian, she is a Mamere to them as well (although she spells it a bit differently). So great for you to have so many experiences with different and (mostly) loving families ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Chris on June 18, 2016 at 1:43 AM
    • Reply

    Oh Allie, tears are rolling down my cheeks. My last post to you was to enjoy every moment in Italy with your family! I don’t know your dad, but I love him!!!! He gets what really matters-family!!! My dad died almost two years ago. He was given a death sentence at 59 and miraculously survived for 15 more years. Much to my pediatricians chagrin, I packed a 7 week old baby on a plane and let the adventures begin. We traveled the east coast in their RV-best memories of my life!!!! Funny I was thinking about your trip to
    Italy just today before reading this. My dad always wanted to visit Switzerland (we are Swiss) but he never made the commitment to go for it. I’m so happy to see your dad enjoying Italy and time with your precious little people. Enjoy today-tomorrow may never come!!!

    1. Absolutely! If it’s one thing we have done after my mom died, it’s that we live as though we were dying and our family motto is basically “let’s do it and do it now!”
      Thanks Christine and I’m so glad you decided to pack up the baby and take to the road!! I’m sure it was the best decision ever.

  12. What a wonderful tribute to your father! My dad has always been hot and cold, both with us girls and as a grandfather with my boys. But he taught us girls how to fish and how to be self-sufficient. I wish he had been a little more involved, especially with my oldest, who seems have inherited my dad’s love for cars and for tinkering (he installed my new Bluetooth car stereo for me!) Still, the boys know he loves them. He did take my oldest son to buy his first car. That was really awesome.

    You get what you get.

    Looks like you hit the jackpot!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Book Review: First Ladies of Running by Amby BurfootMy Profile

    1. Very true – you can’t choose your family, but sometimes you get very lucky ๐Ÿ™‚ And, overall, it’s important to know that you are loved, no matter how they show it so at least your boys have that!! And, that is very cool about the car buying. I’m sure neither of them will ever forget that!

  13. Late to this soiree but thought so much about grandfathers yesterday as I made plans to go see my dad with my girl next month.
    I never really knew either of mine.
    Im working so so hard to make sure SHE never says that.
    CARLA recently posted…What *Ive* learned from summer swim team.My Profile

    1. Good for you Carla because it DOES take work and effort but, as you know, oh so worth it!!…for everyone ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. this is the best, your dad is awesome!!! i love that he embraces his kid side ๐Ÿ™‚
    my grosspapa lived in switzerland and honk kong all my life, so i didn’t get to see him as often as i would have liked but did get the BEST and longest letters from him… he was a true free spirit and brilliant mind. he’d write me long letters about his expeditions and ideas for inventions. he never stopped dreaming and thinking. and he loved us all, even from afar, so specially.
    i didn’t get a chance to meet my paternal grandfather and only saw a photo.
    i know my hubby will be the best dad to our little June Bug because he’s a big kid at heart, too. in fact when we watch movies like Minions or Finding Nemo, he’s the guy laughing the loudest. i love that about him.
    danielle recently posted…WIR – baby room & catching upMy Profile

    1. Letters from a grandpa in Switzerland and Hong Kong? Amazing!!! I hope you have saved those somewhere special.
      Sounds like you are both primed and ready to be parents. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Your dad is special! I never had a grandfather growing up. Both of mine had passed away by the time I was born. It is so awesome that your boys have such a wonderful role model and Buddy in him. Love all the pics. xo
    Jesica @rUnladylike recently posted…Why We Should All Live UnlimitedMy Profile

    1. Thanks so much Jesica. I know you and your dad have a very close relationship and I’m sure he is going to be a spectacular grandpa!!

  16. Awwww! This is so sweet Allie! I totally have a new appreciation for my Dad and my mom as grandparents. Especially now that Cooper is 1 1/2 and can talk and walk, my Dad is super involved. And Cooper adores him. He runs around the house looking for him calling “Pop-Pop” (or well his version of that). I totally agree that it takes a village to raise a child.
    Britt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…The Best Summer RecipesMy Profile

    1. I know you have such a great relationship with your parents and I’m not surprised to hear about Cooper and you dad (and mom!). It’s so important and so much more fun when your parents can be a big part of your child’s life! Hope you’re having fun on the Cape with them right now!

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