Men truly grasp their masculinity once a daughter enters their lives. My journey towards complete maturity initiated precisely thirty-six years ago today with the arrival of our daughter, Dara Maria. Until that moment, our son had occupied the core of our existence. His birth, a wondrous occurrence, had reshaped our lives, altering my perception of divine love and the responsibilities of parenthood.
During that era, the absence of gender reveal festivities and advanced technologies left us without any clues about the heartwarming gift that graced our lives on the afternoon of August 10, 1987. We had pondered names for both a boy and a girl. ‘Dylan’ was reserved for a boy, while ‘Dara Maria’ awaited a girl’s arrival. As fate would have it, Dylan never joined us, but Dara Maria did. She arrived petite compared to her brother, exuding a serene demeanor. Unlike her brother, she peacefully slumbered through the nights, initially nestled in a bassinet beside our bed, then in a crib adjacent to our room, and eventually in her pink-adorned space.
Sibling rivalries and disputes over toys emerged. As did debates over her allegiance to a National Football League team, Our son ardently supported the Buffalo Bills and insisted that Dara align herself with the Kansas City Chiefs. She forged friendships within our neighborhood and later at school. A participant in street hockey games with the local boys, she willingly accepted the “permanent all-time goalie role.” Excelling in both academics and athletics, she graduated third in her class. The school superintendent crafted an award exclusively for her, recognizing her exceptional achievements.
Her departure for college arrived too swiftly, and the void her absence left in our daily lives was keenly felt. A father’s affection extends equally to both sons and daughters, yet the bond between him and his daughter is unique. Frequent journeys to her college ensued, introducing us to new acquaintances and guiding us through fresh locales and dining establishments along the picturesque Erie Canal.
The college years were a tapestry of intellectual achievements, culminating in Dara’s graduation with Summa Cum Laude honors, boasting an impressive 3.97 GPA. Her educational path led her to graduate school at St. Bonaventure University, where she continued her exceptional streak with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
Amidst this period, she made her way to Buffalo, cultivating fresh relationships and forging new connections. The notion of her life in the “Queen City” initially evoked apprehension within her parents, yet Dara’s own experiences gradually dismantled our preconceived beliefs regarding urban life and safety. Additionally, she embarked on a teaching vocation, transitioning from her initial role in First Grade to becoming a reading educator for middle school students.
In due course, her path intertwined with Shaun’s, and their bond flourished, eventually culminating in a splendid wedding ceremony at Christ the King Chapel, nestled within the serene grounds of Canisius University.
After two years, Dara and Shaun gave us the gift of Edison, gracing us with his arrival on his mother’s 30th birthday. This addition seamlessly wove another thread of delight into our family’s narrative.
In unison and during times of separation, we navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. A revelation came our way approximately a year ago—news of impending fraternal twins. We embraced the wait with hope and patience, curious about the new dimensions these tiny newcomers would introduce to our familial tapestry. The eagerly anticipated moment arrived in March of this year when Emmet and Mae entered, bringing their precious presence and further enriching our lives.
Happy Birthday! Your presence and boundless enthusiasm for life and love have brought about a profound transformation in our lives. With love, Dad.