Growing up, Father’s Day was a day we would help Mom cook breakfast. We’d bring it right to our parents’ room. Then we’d sign cards and watch anxiously as he opened presents we knew nothing about but were “from us.” It was a day to cater to our hero, our dad, who we have always called Pop.
As I have gotten older, life has changed. I don't live at home anymore - though honestly that took a little longer than it should have. I have a business I run with my brothers. I am either about to married or just married depending on when you read this (June 8th is the big day). I am about to start my own family. So stuff is pretty different than when I was 10.
But at least one thing is the exact same - I still have a hero. His name is Pop.
When you grow up a little bit (emphasis on a little bit), memories change - at least for me. Well the memories don't change, but you focus on different parts of them.
I still have incredible memories of going to the lake every summer – skiing, tubing, boating, playing on the beach, cooking out every night, bunking up 5 to a room. But now my memories are more focused on “how did Pop do that?” He never stopped. He was in the water helping Anthony ski. On the boat letting Sophia drive. Tubing with Marco so he wouldn’t be scared.
He was teaching me how to grill. Making sure Nikko didn’t throw a rock at passing cars. Untangling ropes and folding towels and laying out beach chairs and trying to convince my mom to do a sunset cruise with no lights and the list goes on and on and on. I can’t imagine a more non relaxing trip. And the insane thing - he smiled the whole time.
Time with his kids.
I have great memories of playing football in high school and college. And during this time of year, I always think of getting out of school to begin training. My memories have shifted to my lifting partner. He was there for early am sprints, late night squats, and even padded up to do a little hitting. Pop never ever said no. And what’s even more impressive – he was that exact same partner to my six brothers who played in high school and college, and he still has another one to go. And he still can't get enough it.
Time with his kids.
Everyone is biased about their dads and they should be. I am convinced that God made Jim Sansone Sr. to be a father. He has ten children that absolutely adore him. He’s been married for 31 years (they've been together since high school) and they still laugh at each other every single day. He raised a family that actively wants to be together all the time. He raised siblings that became best friends, best men, wingmen, teammates, and business partners.
He passed along a lot of things to us: his love for Rocky, late night donut runs, hunting, and being a diehard Blues fan. He taught us to open doors for women, shake with a firm handshake, stand up for the people close to you, and don’t take any crap.
But the best thing that he ever did was believe in his kids, and make his kids believe in themselves. It is my very humble opinion that the most important gifts parents can give their children are love and confidence, and we received that every day all day.
When we decided to quit our jobs, set up an office and a warehouse in a basement, and start selling Normal shirts, there were some dark, lonely days. What are we doing? This is stupid. People are talking behind our backs. This won’t work. But he wouldn’t let us quit. We have a dad (and mom) who believed in us more than we believed in ourselves.
We all have reasons to thank our dads. This Father’s Day I will thank Pop for the happiness I have right now. I am living my dream, and it’s because of him.
Someone once told me that the best gift you can give your parents is being a good person, doing good things for people, and being happy. I try on the first two and I’ve accomplished the third.
But I think I’m going to get him a few shirts too. You should do the same.
Love ya Pop,