Dedan K. Bruner
A Love Note to G.: A Tribute to Giovanni Franco
I was so honored and pleased to write this love note to Giovanni. He is a great dad and partner. I want everyone to know how amazing he is and how fortunate we are to know him and have him in our lives.
First off, G is a spectacular dad. The list of what he does is unending so I will talk about how he makes us feel: confident, supported, happy, safe. He is patient and calm. Funny and laid-back. He's affectionate and generous of his time and his skills. He has taken to being a father of two girls like a duck to water. Actually, that's an over-simplification, it's not that he doesn't work at it, he does, but he does it so gracefully, he kind of makes it look easy. I love that he doesn't take their love for granted. When he's home, he's home. So we get not only his physical presence but his emotional and mental presence too. When the girls were younger, I used to try to kick him out on the weekends to get him to spend time with friends, devote time to his hobbies, you know, basically the things I need to keep me sane - smile. But over time, I've realized this is truly his happy place. If he's with his family - he's set. There is no place he'd rather be.
I didn’t grow up with a father figure in my life and honestly, never understood the hoopla regarding fathers. "You don’t miss what you've never had," I always said. But the thing is... you do. You don’t recognize the feeling of loss because you’ve always lived with the absence, but it's there. Seeing G parent has been both eye-opening and healing for me. Fathers are so much more than breadwinners and protectors. They teach so much about self-discipline and goal setting. They are nurturing in a uniquely male way - more encouraging and supportive of riskier behavior like swimming, riding a bike, and contact sports! G was originally the person who thought our daughters should try soccer. Three years later our oldest absolutely loves soccer and can't wait to start 9th grade so she can play for her high school. She has grown so much by participating on a team.
Here are two stories that kind of sum him up:
I love camping. My husband, not so much. Over the years, I've really upped my skills because I didn't want him to feel like he had to keep doing something he didn't enjoy, so we (me and the kids) could do something we enjoyed. But funny thing happened, now I am a totally competent camper and could take the girls alone but Gio wants to be there, not because he has to but because wants to. Also, I love how he has supported my growth as a camper. Without him by my side, the first few years, I'm not sure I would have turned the thing 'I always wanted to do one day' into one of my greatest joys. I'm not sure I would have built up the necessary skills to feel confident camping alone with my children. But thanks to him, I have.
Throughout the summer my husband loves making his own ceviche. He and the girls go to the carniceria early every Saturday morning, then come home and chop all the things. It's quite the time intensive process and it's become very much their own little tradition. I hear them talking and laughing in the kitchen and I just want to pinch myself. Over and over again, he shows our girls they are valued + how those who value you, should treat you. It's a true love story. An engaged father is a priceless gift.