Life Deconstructed: Husbands, fathers and dogs — a Father’s Day tribute

Life Deconstructed - Maria Jiunta Heck

Father’s Day is upon us; the day when Dads the Valley-over reap the rewards of being, well, a dad.

In my family, this means that the children fawn over their father because they love him and appreciate everything he has “taught” them, like their propensity for Pabst, ignoring the fact that a toilet seat has hinges enabling it to go down as easily as it goes up, teaching them how to belch entire nursery rhymes, letting them think golf can be an Olympic sport and instructing them in the finer points of completely ignoring everything their mother says.

It’s a great day for a great man. (That was steeped in sarcasm.)

But, to be honest, my husband is a phenomenal father. (That was not steeped in sarcasm.)

If you want to know what kind of father your significant other will be, get a dog. Thirty years ago, when we brought home our first puppy, I could sense, by the way my husband cuddled and spoke softly to this animal, that unless I acquired two extra feet and a tail, he would never speak to me so lovingly, but he would to a child.

When it comes to parenting, he has always been the reasonable one. I hate how he never gets agitated over the things I am forced to enforce: curfews, sub-par grades in ceramics class, appropriate footwear and tattoos. The phrase: “Wait until your father gets home” holds as much weight as the phrase: “Wait until Tinkerbell flies by.”

No fear. Zero.

My father and my husband have very similar personalities and parenting styles, and you know what they say: you marry your father. Well, that sounds so wrong, but you catch my drift. I don’t think this was a pre-meditated, conscious plan, since we began dating in 10th grade and I doubt I would’ve made this connection at the time — but it’s truth.

My father is hard to rattle. I’ve only seen him lose his temper once in my entire life and that’s when he pulled the phone cord out of the wall because my sister and I were fighting over it. Kids, you’ll have to Google Image that. Phones used to be tethered to walls with a cord! Plus — you used your pointer finger to dial a rotation of numbers instead of grazing a thumb over a screen. Crazy times.

My husband never erupts, either. While I become apoplectic over smelly laundry molting in corners of rooms, moldy string cheese under beds, and words of disrespect concealed under breath, but painful just the same, Nancy is yucking it up with his kids, securing his status as The Most Favorite Parent Ever. He never takes their bait. I not only take their bait, but slap it on a hook throw that hook into a lake full of crap and fish for days.

My father remains a peacemaker , as does my husband. He coined the phrase: “Don’t sweat the small stuff” decades before it became a thing. He has never sweat inconsequential moments like fender benders and unchaperoned teenage house parties, nor the large stuff, like floods and hurdles of the Herculean sort. He goes with the flow, even if the flow is the swollen Susquehanna. He is simply a lovely and gracious human being. It’s really a shame none of the dominant genetic crapshoot of his DNA made its way into my vessel, chock-full of bitchiness, judgment and short temperament.

Fathers and daughters. Fathers and sons. Fathers and Schnauzers. A study in love, an experiment in unsurpassed patience and winning the paternal bonanza. Happy Father’s Day, Pops.

Life Deconstructed

Maria Jiunta Heck

Maria Jiunta Heck of West Pittston is a mother of three and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life. Send Maria an email at

Maria Jiunta Heck of West Pittston is a mother of three and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life. Send Maria an email at

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