Father’s Day Guest Columnist Al Villeta: Fatherhood is a Calling

Al Villeta, a long-time driver for UPS, lives in Forest Hills, Queens, with his wife Georgia and three sons. He’s my close personal friend, an all-around good guy, and a legendary schoolyard basketball player.

To My Three Sons,

I do know that you are all well aware of how much I love you and how proud of you I am, but I’ve never told you how grateful I am for not only having you in my life, but for the lessons you have taught me, and for this I will always be thankful.

I know you’re all probably thinking “here goes Dad again, off on some tangent,” but I need to express to you how dearly I cherish our lessons, for they have not only allowed you all to grow into fine young men, they have molded me into the Dad I am today.

Since the day you were born, Nick, I knew that being a father was not only a title for me but a calling. We were both “newbies,” you a newborn baby and me a newborn Dad. And as I held you for the first time, the room seemed to glow, for I never experienced love of that nature before.

Luke, when you were born I realized that life is ever so delicate, and strength has nothing to do with size – the irony in that still amazes me.

Alex, you’ve taught me that being a father has nothing to do with “biology,” but everything to do with love and respect. Unlike Nick and Luke, who were “stuck” with me, you chose to stick by me.

Throughout the years I’ve learned how a smile, a kind word, patience and a thoughtful gesture truly can and do make a difference.

I’ve learned not to take myself too seriously and have become a better listener.

I’ve learned that nothing beats good dinner conversations.

And that laughter really is the best medicine.

And that the greatest compliment one could receive is hearing young Luke tell someone, when asked what he wants to be when he grows up,” I want to be a Dad, just like mine.”

I cannot express how proud I am when one of our neighbors or one of my customers stops me just to say they’ve run into one of you boys and shares with me how helpful, polite and intelligent you are. I’m always humbled by this.

I realize that all of the moments we’ve shared together, all of the first and lasts, all of the laughter and tears, are my most treasured possessions.

For truly what do we have in this world but each other?

So, my dear boys, I hope that as long as I can I’ll keep teaching you the lessons I’ve learned and that you will in turn keep teaching me.

Thank you for your unconditional love, and for making me smile every day.

To be continued.



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