With five children, three of them girls, the celebration of Father’s Day is a great Rivera family tradition. Despite our world gone mad, it means breakfast in bed for good ol’ dad and the unique luxury of being the pampered center of attention.
It doesn’t happen every day. The women of the Rivera clan, Erica, my wife of almost two decades, older daughters Isabella and Simone, and Sol, who at 14 is the last one home, are high-powered, independent and usually not given to excessive displays of paternal affection.
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I know they’re crazy about me, but they’re often too busy to show it. Plus, they hate my politics and lovingly mock everything from my tediously sincere 1960’s-era folksy music to my middle of the road political moderation. Dad is usually the ancient mariner, befuddled, creaky, analog, unhip and old fashioned, but beloved, especially on and around Father’s Day.
In our home, this holiday is just that, a pleasant antique, a throwback to the days of « Father Knows Best, » a television show that ran when Eisenhower was president and cars had fins. Today I’m the brilliant, can-do-no-wrong daddy.
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When they’re home, and even from a distance they slow down and shower me with attention that gains in significance the older I get and the stronger and more independent they become.
Today is perhaps supposed to have grander significance, but it is hard to think global relevance when the image that comes to mind is Erica and Sol making me French Toast with syrup, well-done bacon, hot coffee, the Sunday newspaper, lots of hugs and « thank you, I love you, daddy. »
Now, in this time of pandemic, upheaval and social discord, the big girls and their brothers are necessarily distant, off tending to their own lives and families.
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I worry about my far-flung flock daily. There is an old saying that « you are only as happy as your unhappiest child » and every evening I run down the list of offspring and assess how each is doing. With four grandchildren and another on the way next month, my list keeps growing.
Even remotely, I’ll be checking off their names as they Zoom in from California, Washington, D.C., New York and Massachusetts to shower me with long-distance affection.
I wish the world they and their children are growing into was more stable, inclusive and gentle.
I wish my children and grandchildren could all crawl into bed with me and eat French Toast and enjoy this one carefree morning.
I wish every day was Father’s Day.
Geraldo Rivera currently serves as a roaming correspondent-at-large for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 2001 as a war correspondent. Read More.
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