Welcome to a quick fun read!
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In honor of the upcoming holiday, we wanted to recognize the President of Karen Adams Designs, Edward “Ed” O’Brien aka “The Man Who Makes It Happen”. Ed has worked at KAD alongside Karen, his wife, for over 20 years. Although he claims “I just write the checks,” Ed is the reason the lights are on, the building is standing, and we all feel encouraged and supported. Ed is a father, step-father, father-in-law, and recently, a grandfather! As you may know, we are a family business. Wallis, Avery, and Anya are blessed to have Ed as boss, but even more so as one of the Dads in our lives.
Anya asked Ed about being a Dad. Here are his thoughts below:
“Honestly, thinking about myself as a Dad is odd. Especially given how blessed I am while preferring to shine the light on, what I consider to be, two handsome sons, two handsome sons-in-law, two beautiful daughters and a beautiful daughter-in-law. Let alone my beautiful bride . . rather than this aging 66 year old Self.
As I am sure you’re aware In loco parentis refers to a relationship in which a person puts himself/herself in the situation of assuming the responsibilities and obligations of parent. I was 25 years old when the term, in loco parentis, had personal meaning. [Anya’s note: Ed was a teacher and more at The Lawrenceville School.]
By definition of my employment as teacher, coach, housemaster, faculty member at a New Jersey boarding school and later at a New Hampshire sports camp put me in just those situations – Parentis; which was rather mind bending for the younger version of me.
In retrospect, those experiences prepared me immeasurably to, later in life, shed the Latin for the coveted ‘Dad’ title. As my first-hand experiences lived through the lives of hundreds of students, their parents, grandparents, allowed insight as to how solid parenting lays the foundation for one’s life. And had a front row seat for the good, less than ideal, and at times perfectly awful balancing act of trying to parent well.
My own upbringing benefitted from two caring Parents, a maternal Grandmother, an Aunt and Uncle, Cousins, yet absent maternal and paternal Grandfathers.
My Mom’s Dad was victim to an automobile accident when she was an adolescent. My Dad was orphaned upon birth. And raised in Catholic institutions, foster homes, and by life’s circumstances. Some of which were spent in the Naval military during WWII, minor league baseball dugouts, crooning in Brooklyn beer halls, and life-surfing other locales in the Big Apple’s five boroughs.
Fortunately, for him, he met my Mom. While crooning no less, and together they successfully raised three boys. Me as the oldest. Looking back, it’s hard to imagine the difficulty of raising three sons absent an instruction booklet, minimal familial support, and having to work full-time. Not easy tasks. And kudos to my parents for their loving embrace and sacrifice . . as I like to think the O’Brien siblings did them proud.
I love the Dad title. Cherish its meaning. And try, my best, to not to screw it up. For when one is gifted with children, step-children, foster-children, it’s a responsibility that merits accolades when performed with love. While getting it right, 100% of the time, is nearly impossible.
However, if you offer support, guidance when sought, help when trouble arises, advice if requested, celebratory hugs, and lead by example, always. Then, and only then, you hope . . your support and embrace allows for their well lived future(s).
And perhaps, their entitlement to someday evolving to carry the mantle of Mom. Dad. And perhaps someday a title with ‘Grand’ proceeding the aforementioned . . why am I smiling when I write that?”
As a surprise to Ed, we asked his kids to share a few words about their dad...
“My dad raises the bar when it comes to entertaining. When he’s not corralling the dogs or cycling across town, he’s holding court at the table. Dinners with my dad are my favorite. I’ve always known him as a chef and later in life I realized he’s a pretty good bartender too, but when dad is telling a story at the table, time seems to slow down and everyone is just comfortable.” - Ed’s eldest daughter, Brandon.
“A step-dad is a hard job to take on - especially when you are taking on two middle school kids(me and Avery) and already have two of your own that are about the same age. But here we are about 20 years later and I could not have asked for a better step parent to support and love me any more! Ed's love for sports, family, friends, and a nice cocktail is infectious. Cheers to you Ed! Here's to many more (grand)Father's Days!”-Ed’s daughter, Wallis.
"Ed is a very caring guy, not that he would boast that or even admit it - but he shows you love with a little stop n chat, you can bend his ear. That is his strength, that he takes time to ponder those around him and it really shows, whether you realize it or not - before you know it you have a drink in your hand and a good question to boot."- Ed’s oldest son, Avery.
“My dad is truly one of the coolest guys I know. He can tell a story like no other, must be the Irish in him. I always imagine my dad in an old timey 50’s movie being a stud. Truly since the day I can remember I always wanted to grow up and be like my dad. The only problem is no one can be like him. I hear more and more often about how my dad did something cool. Typically by my own friends. From coaching in pee wee sports to helping out along the way in life, I will always look up to him. Dad you’ve always directed me the right way but to a point where I can still be myself. I love you and happy Father’s Day.” - Ed’s son, Edward.
Ed pictured at his niece's wedding wearing Boompa's blue blockers
Happy Father's Day to all the Dad figures in your life. And have a drink for Ed!