Mike Julianelle or something you find in dirty diaper. We aren't sure.

Mike Julianelle

Mike lives in Brooklyn with his wife, two children, and increasing dependence on alcohol. Find him on dadandburied.com and its associated social channels (FB, IG, Twitter) and be ready for him to mock his kids, himself, and maybe even you.

Dad’s 10 Heartbreaking Yet Inspiring Lessons From 3-Year-Old’s Passing

(Facebook/Richard Pringle)

Losing a child is about the hardest thing anyone can go through. Keeping your head up after such a tragedy is unfathomable, but one father who lost his son is doing his best to impart the lessons he learned while dealing with his grief.

Grief and loss are not easy things to talk about, especially when you’re dealing with the death of a child, but somehow Richard Pringle was able to put some thoughts together in the aftermath of his family tragedy, and his words of wisdom are inspiring thousands of others.

When Pringle’s 3-year-old son, Hughie, died suddenly of a brain hemmorhage, it total upended his family’s lives.

“He had a brain condition but was doing so well,” Richard told Mirror Online. “There was only a 5% chance of a bleed but unfortunately that 5% chance happened last year and he didn’t survive.”

A year after his son’s passing, Pringle, who has two other children, took to Facebook to share the lessons he’s learned from the ordeal.

Titled “The 10 Most Important Things I’ve Learnt Since Losing My Son,” his post has 36,000 likes and over 22,000 shares, and his wisdom is proving a boon to fellow grief sufferers.

His son was only three when he passed, but that was plenty of time to know and love the boy, and nowhere near enough time with him.

“He was soft, gentle, caring and so lovable,” Richard said. “He made the boring things fun. He made everything fun. In three short years he left us with a lifetime of the most incredible memories.”

Richard’s powerful list is full of lessons about living in the present and cherishing the love and loved ones in your life, and the 10 items include things many of us need to hear, especially in today’s hectic, distracting world.

The 10 Most Important Things I’ve Learnt Since Losing My Son

1. You can never ever kiss and love too much.

2. You always have time. Stop what you’re doing and play, even if it’s just for a minute. Nothing’s that important that it can’t wait.

3. Take as many photos and record as many videos as humanly possible. One day that might be all you have.

4. Don’t spend money, spend time. You think what you spend matters? It doesn’t. What you do matters. Jump in puddles, go for walks. Swim in the sea, build a camp and have fun. That’s all they want. I can’t remember what we bought Hughie I can only remember what we did.

5. Sing. Sing songs together. My happiest memories are of Hughie sitting on my shoulders or sitting next to me in the car singing our favourite songs. Memories are created in music.

6. Cherish the simplest of things. Night times, bedtimes, reading stories. Dinners together. Lazy Sundays. Cherish the simplest of times. They are what I miss the most. Don’t let those special times pass you by unnoticed.

7. Always kiss those you love goodbye and if you forget. Go back and kiss them. You never know if it’s the last time you’ll get the chance.

8. Make boring things fun. Shopping trips, car journeys, walking to the shops. Be silly, tell jokes, laugh, smile and enjoy yourselves. They’re only chores if you treat them like that. Life is too short not to have fun.

9. Keep a journal. Write down everything your little ones do that lights up your world. The funny things they say, the cute things they do. We only started doing this after we lost Hughie. We wanted to remember everything. Now we do it for Hettie and we will for Hennie too. You’ll have these memories written down forever and when your older you can look back and cherish every moment.

The last item on the list may be the most heartbreaking, as it can’t help but make you think about the things Hughie is missing.

10. If you have your children with you. To kiss goodnight. To have breakfast with. To walk to school. To take to university. To watch get married. You are blessed. Never ever forget that.

Richard, we salute you for your strength and thank you for your words of wisdom.

Santa Takes a Knee to Thank a WW2 Hero Who is also a Father of 10

(Facebook/Gina Stecher Wilbur)

It’s December, and around this time of year, Santa Claus is the big MVP. Everybody lines up to meet the big man and whisper their dreams into his ear and then go home and wait for him to magically make them come true.

But Santa has heroes of his own, and while he was working the Concord Mall in Delaware this holiday season, old St. Nick took a break from his Christmas duties to show some respect to one of them.

Gina Stecher Wilbur was out doing some holiday shopping with her son when they decided to take a breather and sit on a bench next to the mall’s Santa’s Workshop area, where Mr. Claus waits on his throne (of lies?) for children to step up and sit on his lap. But wile Gina was taking her break, she saw Santa take a break of his own, and not merely to grab a bite or use the restroom. No, Santa got up from his seat and walked over to a man he saw sitting by the wall.

The man was Bob Smiley, a 93-year-old father of ten (ten!) who was wearing a WWII veteran hat. Santa had noticed, and he’d gone over to Bob to pay him respects.

From Gina’s Facebook post:

“Santa steps away from his Chair… he walks over to a veteran sitting on the wall… as Santa approaches, the veteran stands and Santa takes a knee. I hear Santa telling the gentleman, in a soft voice, of others he knew who served. He shakes his hand with genuine gratefulness thanking him for his service and returns to the children.”

Gina snapped a photo of the moment, and it was quickly noticed by the internet, gathering 13,000 likes and nearly 8,000 shares. “Good Day Philadelphia” even caught wind of the story and brought Santa and Smiley on their show to discuss their encounter.

(Facebook/Gina Stecher Wilbur)

“We owe a debt of gratitude to men like this, that have made such a life-changing decision to give up themselves, be willing to lay down their life even, for other people,” Santa told FOX 29’s Jennaphr Frederick.

Gina agrees, closing her Facebook post by commenting, “Best moment of my day.”

Girl Asks Santa to Change Dad’s Shift so He Can Be Home For Christmas


When I was a kid and Christmas came around, I put a lot of thought into my list.

Before I clued into the fact that my parents were responsible for the stack of presents under the tree, I would ask for some pretty outlandish stuff. Like the G.I. Joe aircraft carrier. Or a bigger bedroom. Or no school for the rest of my life.

After all, Santa was magic, maybe he could deliver something outrageous for me! I never got any of those things, for obvious reasons (I’m not convinced that aircraft carrier even existed!), but they weren’t important. Not like one little girl’s wish to Santa.

Zadora is a 10-year-old from Springfield, Massachusetts who asked Santa for one very special gift this Christmas, and her grandmother was so touched by her request, who shared the letter with WWLP.


In her letter, “Zee” tells Santa she doesn’t want any gifts, she just wants her dad’s shift at the post office to start a little later.

“He would be so happy,” Zee said. “And when he is happy, I’m happy, and I’ll tell you this: I’ll even let you skip my house.”

Her father, David Matias, has been working the 6:30 shift for 10 years, but it was recently changed to 4:30. And his daughter noticed the time they were losing, because Dad used to get her from school and they’d have a few hours together. But the shift change eliminates that.

“I have all I want right now from my parents and I realized that I just wanted to spend more time with my dad,” said Zadora.

Dad feels her pain. “Just the two-hour change had a big impact because now Zadora’s father gets out of school and it’s getting her from school and going straight to work so even the time we did have we lost that,” David told WWLP.

Given the busy holiday schedule he’s not very hopeful that the Post Office will accommodate his daughter’s request, so, like Zadora, he’s hoping for a little Christmas magic.

Photographers Make Christmas Magical for Children in Hospitals

(The Heart Project/Edit by Jason Ulsrud - Photillustrator)

Christmas is a special time of year, full of family, joy, and holiday traditions. Sometimes, real life has a way of dampening our Christmas spirit, and making the joy of the season more elusive than it should be.

For no one is that more true for sick children and their parents, who are forced to spend the Christmas season in the hospital, and often end up missing a lot of what makes the holiday season so wonderful. When you’re stuck in a hospital bed, making a visit to tell Santa what you want for Christmas is not really in the cards.

One organization is helping change that by bringing some of the holiday spirit to the hospital and allowing kids to get their hearts warmed.

In 2016, an organization called “The Heart Project” was created by Karen Alsop and Adam Cubito. The non-profit organization was started by the pair in Melbourne, Australia. Together, as part of their “Christmas Wish” program, they take photos of children with Santa in their hospital rooms, then use Photoshop to edit them into gorgeous, fantastical images.

(The Heart Project)
(The Heart Project/Edit by Lisa Carney)

“The idea sprouted from a conversation between myself and Adam Cubito (Heart Project co-founder) in 2016. We knew that Photographic Art had the ability to transport kids into another world and realized that this would be an incredible project to run in a hospital where many families couldn’t return home for Christmas”, Alsop told Bored Panda.

(The Heart Project/Edit by Ben Shirk)

They span the globe all year to take photos with children. They’ve traveled to hospitals and hospices in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Christchurch, Auckland, Canada, Bristol UK and North Devon UK so far this year, and Alsop says they’ve taken photos with more than 200 kids in 2018 alone.

(The Heart Project/Edit by Richard Wood)

“Our mission has always been to put a smile on the face of families who are doing it tough at Christmas by making them escape reality – even for a day – thanks to the power of photography and Photoshop.”

(The Heart Project/Edit by Mark Heaps - lifebypixels)
(The Heart Project/Karen Alsop - Story Art)
(The Heart Project/Edit by Mandy Smith and Karen Alsop)

You can watch the entire magical process unfold in this video:

Yellies: The New Toy Terrorizing Kids and Parents This Christmas


The holidays can be a tough time for parents. We’re tasked with doing everything we can to make our kids’ Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa as special as possible, and sometimes that means going against our better judgment.

We end up stressing ourselves out moving a silly elf around, draining our bank accounts to get the kids everything they want, and shooting ourselves in the feet by buying them gifts that will go on to haunt our dreams.

One hot new gift this season seems designed to do exactly that. They’re called Yellies, and they are tiny stuffed spiders that – get this – respond to the sound of yelling. Hence the name. That’s right, these toys skitter around the floor, and the louder your kids yell and scream, the faster they move, attracted by the noise.

It sounds like a sick joke, and that’s surely how some dastardly aunts and uncles will be treating it when they buy the creepy little critters for your kids. Fortunately, despite the guaranteed headaches these toys are destined to provide, there is a bit of an upside for those parents with a dark side. And it’s being captured on social media.

You see, people are scared of spiders, especially children. And what do children do when they’re scared? They scream. And Yellies love your screams. They feed on them. They run to them like moths to light. And the louder you scream, the more quickly these stuffed spider nightmares will be upon them!

Some parents are taking advantage of this.


View this post on Instagram


Am I the worst mother ever or what? 😂😂 #yellies

A post shared by Tonia☠️🌵 (@toniamaeskis) on

Of course, sometimes a parent’s fun goes a little too far.

It’s not just kids that are terrified.

It seems Yellies pack as much fun and fear into their tiny $14.99 package for both parents and kids alike!

Just have the Excedrin handy.

Just a heads up, if you buy stuff using the provided links, The Dad may collect a small commission, but opinions are our own.

Father Figures: 125%

“I’ve never really had a solid consistent father figure growing up.

We moved from town to town, Mom had boyfriend after boyfriend, and my biological dad would ignore my messages and eventually left all social media. I have only one memory of him, when he came to visit when I was six-ish, and it was only for a few hours. He was never to be seen or heard from again.

Growing up was rough, but when I got to the age when I understood what it meant to be a family and a true father, not just a dad, I knew I was going to be the best father I could be. I knew what to do right by what had been wrong and nonexistent in my childhood.

Fast forward 10 years. When we first became pregnant, I froze and cried. I was so happy. We were happy and excited and we told everyone we knew and celebrated. Unfortunately too soon. We miscarried at 3 1/2 months. It was devastating. We thought everything was over, that it wasn’t meant to be.

We were being ushered to move out because the owners were selling the house and we needed somewhere to go. We ended up buying a house (23 and 20 yrs old). Soon after we moved in, the first night of dinner in our own home, my girlfriend got sick. She absolutely loves steak and potatoes but it came right up and the smell made her sick some more. I knew at that very moment we were expecting. She broke the news, but I had already guessed and was excited just waiting for her to tell me.

The pregnancy was miserable. She got diagnosed with HG (hypermesis gravidarum). Hospitalized 3 times for IV fluids and multiple false labors. But our son was a miracle! We didn’t want to know the gender and kept it a surprise. As soon as I helped him out and held him, I yelled “Milo!” I was laughing and crying at the same time.

Fast forward to a year and a half later, when we were blessed with another beautiful baby boy, Remy. Again all joyful tears and sheer happiness!

I will always remember those moments and cherish the memories in bright vivid detail.

The entire journey of being a father AND a husband is hands down the best experience you could ever endure. I give my family 125% everyday and give them the love, attention, and more love that they deserve. I get excited to take them places that will make them cheer and see them smile, and we have movie nights with cuddles and warm hearts. With no real father figure in my life, I knew exactly, within reason, how to be a father and, better, yet a husband.

Today I have 4 dogs, 2 boys, and a beautiful wife by my side. Fatherhood isn’t something you can describe or show someone else. You have to feel it to know that it’s the best thing that will ever happen in your lifetime.”

– Dylan Martin

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Father Figures: Heart Murmur

“I’d always known that I wanted to be a father but I never knew if I was ready to be a father.

My wife Holly and I began trying a few months after our marriage. Then months went by with negative test after negative test. After two years, we decided to give a fertility treatment center a try. We spent thousands of dollars trying IUI and each round was unsuccessful. We were down to our last shot before we would need to make a choice of putting things on hold to save up for full on Invitro.

Our next attempt was on Mother’s Day, 2016, and a few weeks later, we found out that the IUI was successful. We sat in every appointment teary-eyed and thankful for our blessing.

On January 19th, 2017 we welcomed our son Miles. I still did not know if I was ready to be a father but knew that I had to be. I broke down the moment they placed Miles in my arms and thought about the years preceding his arrival. The disappointment, the lost pregnancies; it all faded away when he looked into my eyes. At that point, I knew that being a father was exactly what I was meant to do.

A short two hours later, they informed us that Miles had a heart murmur but that it should go away after 48 hours. We stayed in the hospital for days only to find out that the murmur was still there. After tests, we were informed that our son had 2 large holes in his heart. When he reached 14 lbs, they decided that he needed to open-heart surgery. We were both shocked, and nervous to put such a tiny human through such a big procedure.

On the morning of June 14th, 2017 our son underwent open heart surgery at almost 5 months old. The 8 hours he was away from us was the longest my wife and I had ever been without him. We were beyond relieved to hear that the surgery was successful and our boy was in recovery, but nothing prepared us to see our son lying in a hospital bed with more tubes, sensors, and IVs connected to him than I had ever seen before.

We stayed in the hospital for weeks watching Miles recover “much quicker than expected” according to all of the nurses and doctors. After a year and a half, he’s been given the all clear and his heart is good as gold!

I never knew what to expect when entering fatherhood, but my father always had explained that was normal. He said, ‘You don’t really know what you are getting into, but once it happens, you know exactly what you need to do.”

My son has been my pride and joy since the day I found out we were pregnant and he is the toughest person I have ever met.

Fast forward to this year, on my 30th Birthday, my wife informed me that we would be expecting our second child all naturally! We can’t wait to welcome our little girl into the world next April.

Fatherhood has completely changed my life and I couldn’t imagine how I got through life without the blessings that I now have.”

– Nick Fleshman

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Ohio State Pigs out at $1 Bacon Vending Machine

(Facebook/Ohio State)

Literally everyone loves bacon. I mean, not literally everyone, there are plenty of vegetarians and vegans and people who don’t eat meat or pork for religious or cultural or personal reasons. But everyone who does eat bacon loves bacon!

You know what else everyone loves? Convenience. The ability to procure items as quickly as possible, with as little hassle as possible, with as little human interaction as possible. Like, say, via a vending machine.

If you combine all the people who love bacon with all the people who love convenience, there’s a lot of overlap. Do you know what that large group is really going to love? A bacon vending machine!

Oh, and the best part of this news? It’s already cooked and ready to go!

Wait…correction. The best part of this news is that it only costs $1!?!

The Ohio Pork Council – shocker! – installed the world’s first (I assume?) bacon vending machine at THE Ohio State University last week, and it’s sticking around until December 13th, providing students and professors with all the bacon they need. The council created the machine in conjunction with We Care initiative, which is dedicated to supporting farmers who practice environmentally responsible and ethical agriculture.

“The Bacon Vending Machine is a unique and fun way for the Ohio Pork Council to support Ohio State students and promote the pork industry at the same time,” Dave Shoup, the president-elect of the Ohio Pork Council, said in a statement.

The proceeds from the vending machine go to the school’s meat science program, which apparently exists. What the rest of the world wants to know is whether more of these bacon-based vending machines exist! Sadly, it seems the answer is no.

“The future of the bacon vending machine is still unknown … we may see it appear again, or maybe not. Time will tell! Currently, this is our [only] bacon vending machine,” Emily Bir, director of communications for the Ohio Pork Council, told TODAY.

Kind Man Gives His First Class Seat to Mom Flying With Sick Baby

(Facebook/Kelsey Zwick)

Taking kids anywhere is often a recipe for disaster. Public places are full of scorn for hyper children, loud children, crying children, and much of that scorn and judgment gets directed at their parents. As if Mom and Dad don’t have enough to deal with, now they have to worry about inconveniencing strangers?

Nowhere is more fraught than an airplane, an enclosed space where people spent a solid chunk of change and are probably already in a pretty bad mood. When they see an overactive kid, or a loud baby stroll down their aisle? Many passengers can’t help but be jerks about it. Which is what makes this story so refreshing. Someone wasn’t a jerk about it!

Last week, Kelsey Zwick was flying from Orlando to Philadelphia with her 11-month-old baby. The pair was flying to Philly to visit the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, so baby Lucy could receive the special treatment she needs for her chronic lung disease.

“Not everybody gets the opportunity to get the best care for your children. I was just grateful to be on that flight,” Zwick told Today.

She was about to become even more grateful.

Kelsey got on the flight early, thanks to traveling with an infant, and after she’d sat down and positioned her daughter, her diaper bag, and the oxygen tank Lucy needed to fly with, she received a pleasant surprise. A flight attendant approached her and told her a passenger had done something special. He had surrendered his first class seat to the mother and daughter.

“At first, I didn’t really understand what she was saying,” said Zwick. “When I realized that it was someone showing kindness to us, I just started crying.”

Kelsey went to Facebook and posted a grateful response to the anonymous man in 2D, where she explained that while she walked up the aisle into the first class section, her eyes filled with tears, Lucy was apparently having a blast.

“Not able to hold back tears, I cried my way up the aisle while my daughter Lucy laughed! She felt it in her bones too… real, pure, goodness. I smiled and thanked you as we switched but didn’t get to thank you properly.”

So she thanked him online instead.

“Thank you,” she wrote. “Not just for the seat itself but for noticing. For seeing us and realizing that maybe things are not always easy. For deciding you wanted to show a random act of kindness to US. It reminded me how much good there is in this world. I can’t wait to tell Lucy someday. In the meantime… we will pay it forward. AA 588 passenger in seat 2D, we truly feel inspired by your generosity.

Other people are surely inspired as well, after Kelsey’s post received nearly 500,000 shares and over 765,000 likes on FB.

Shortly after she posted on Facebook the good Samaritan was identified as Jason Kunselman of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. He later revealed it was his birthday the day after the flight, “It was the perfect birthday gift, seeing that I could help someone else out and make someone happy,” he said.

Jason, we salute you.

This Santa Connects With Autistic Kids, Because He Has Autism Too

(Today/Kerry Magro)

Visiting Santa isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. We’ve all seen the hilarious photos of screaming children sitting on the big man’s lap. They’re confused and wondering why their parents put them in the clutches of a large man draped in blood red clothing. Most of us outgrow our trepidation and learn to toe the line to get the gifts, but some people have a tough time connecting with Kris Kringle for other reasons.

Like autism.

Kids with autism often have trouble connecting with people, especially strangers, and the experience of meeting Santa in a crowded mall witholors and noise can send their senses into overdrive. That’s what happened to Kyle Magro when he was a 6-year-old kid, when the flash on the camera was just too much for him.

“It was sad for me,” Magro, now 30, told Today. “I thought, why are those other kids able to do this, and not me? I didn’t have any friends, and I was really trying to find that connection.”

As an autistic kid, he didn’t find it, so now that he’s 30, he’s taken it upon himself to provide that connection for other autistic kids. Every Christmas for the past five years, Kerry dresses up as Santa and provides autistic kids with a special Christmas experience of their own. An autism educator and activist, Kerry called on some friends to help him devise an autistic-friendly Santa experience. The lights are low, the music is soft, and instead of being rushed, the visiting kids get 30 minutes each to get comfortable.

“There’s a lot of joy,” said Magro, who recently donned the iconic Santa outfit in New Jersey. “It’s a labor of love.”

Magro will get on the floor with kids, and allow them to touch or interact with his Santa in any way they like. Parents of autistic kids, so used to having to explain what their child can handle and how they communicate, are grateful for the experience.

(Today/Kerry Magro)

“She was trying her best, in her own way, to interact, and he is catching all those cues. It was just natural,” said Brian Calligy, who has been taking his daughter, who has non-verbal autism, to see Kerry for five years. “She was so excited; she’s jumping up and down, and he’s jumping up and down with her. She was so happy. She had a smile from ear to ear.”

There are a handful of Santas across the country who provide lower key experiences for kids with sensory issues, but Kerry may be the first with autism himself.

“As a parent, seeing what he’s doing not only for my daughter but for all the kids who are there, it’s special,” said Calligy. “Seeing a person with autism and the heights he is reaching, and he still is making time to come and do this — well, we look forward to it every year.”

Dad Was Worried About Poker Player Son’s $100k Solitary Confinement Bet

(Getty/Image Source/AZemdega)

Guys will do some strange things on a dare. Throw in some money and call it a bet and things can get even more intense. Especially among people who make bets for a living.

“Strange” and “intense” certainly describe the latest bet between Rich Alati and Rory Young, two professional poker players who left the cards behind for their latest gambit. After a casual conversation took on real stakes – “How long do you think you could last in a dark room, with no human interaction?” – Rich Alati agreed to spend 30 days in solitary confinement. No human interaction, no technology. In the dark. The prize? $100,000.

“The conditions are complete darkness, so no electronics, no light-emitting devices, no drugs of any kind,” said Rory Young explained to Pocket Fives. “He is allowed any type of food that he wants. He has a bed in there, he has a shower and a bathtub. He has pretty lavish toiletries like Epsom salts, sugar scrubs, that kind of stuff.”

Rich’s father, Richard, the third party with the most knowledge of the bet had the ability to watch his son on a 24/7 feed. Needless to say he was a tad concerned after finding out about it after the bet had been made.

“I gave him a chance to talk me through it and hear him out,” Richard told The Action Network. “He’s in a profession where they do things that other people wouldn’t do.”

This isn’t Steve McQueen in The Great Escape throwing a ball at the wall, whiling away the hours in defiance of the Nazis. This was 30 days in a pitch black room, completely oblivious to the passage of time, with no interaction with anyone else, and not even enough light to read. 30 days of that is enough to drive a man mad. Is $100,000 worth taking that risk? Alati seemed to think so.

His dad had the ability to call off the bet – which he insisted he won’t do without talking to other family members – and admits that after two weeks in (Rich entered solitary confinement on November 21) he’s was becoming uneasy. “But I chose to focus on the positive, wishing for a successful completion of the wager.” he said.

Turns out the wager did complete successfully. After 20 days in the dark Rich called it off when his bet rival delivered him some food. But not before negotiating a $62,400 buy-out. Sure, it’s not $100k but still a nice addition to Alati’s $330,000 in career tournament earnings.

It couldn’t have been easy, knowing his son may be struggling but also knowing that after more than two weeks, pulling the plug will cost him the money. His dad hung in there, supporting his son as best he could.

“My kids don’t always follow my direction, but I will back them and support them to the end of the world. I have a confidence in my son. Given his life experiences, I believe he can do anything he sets his mind to as a goal. I brought him up to be hard working, resilient and we don’t quit.”

Father Figures: Happy Again

“Noémie and I always wanted kids. It was the obvious goal of our relationship, which started in 2006. We thought it would be easy and straightforward. Noémie became pregnant in 2014, six months after our wedding. But nothing went as expected.

We learned that Gabriel, our unborn son, had a severe heart malfunction. If we decided to continue the pregnancy, we could try a 3-stage heavy-heart surgery, which could potentially allow him to live up to 20 or 30 years.

We wanted to meet him. We wanted to see his face, to hear his voice, to touch his skin. And above all, we didn’t want to live our entire life wondering what would have happened if we had given him a chance. We turned down the offer of interrupting the pregnancy.

Gabriel is born in January 2015. 6 days after his birth, he went through the first stage of the surgery. He did it. But later on, his heart turned out not to be strong enough. At the age of 46 days, Gabriel became an angel.

Our lives became nightmares. Finding the strength to get out of bed each morning was next to impossible. But we fought, and we patiently learned how to live without him. Day after day, week after week, month after month, we found ways to honor his memory, and to grow stronger.

Today, I can tell for sure that Gabriel made me a better person, less selfish, stronger, more empathic. I’m so proud to be his father. In only 46 days, he taught me more than anyone could do in a lifetime.

Just as I thought that no one could be as incredible as him, Noémie was pregnant again, one year after the death of Gabriel. In December 2016, I became the father of Ariane, a little girl full of life and energy!

She just never stops playing, exploring, talking, jumping… She laughs when, as a joke, she puts on her mothers’ shoes; she complains if I’m not wearing the “stormtrooper t-shirt” (she pronounces it “stormkooper”); she cries if I don’t let her eat by herself… And every morning, I’m awoken by her little voice. “Elle est réveillée petite fille !” (“Little girl is awake!”) as she’s hungry for new experiences.

When I lost my son, I wondered how I could be happy again. When I held my daughter in my arms for the first time, I wondered how I could be sad again.

I’ve been the proudest and happiest father ever since.”

– Yannick Bourquin

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Let’s Send This Dad and WWII Hero Birthday Wishes for His 96th!

(Facebook/Sue Morse)

Birthdays are special no matter your age, but as you get up in years and they are less of a foregone conclusion, they become more and more meaningful. One proud daughter is doing her best to make her dad’s birthday as special as possible by putting the word out on social media.

Sue Morse’s father has lived an extraordinary life, and as he approaches his 96th birthday, she is hoping to help him get a little extra recognition for surviving it! Duane Sherman turns 96 on December 30th, and when you have a birthday that’s sandwiched between two of the year’s biggest holidays, it’s easy for it to get overlooked. But not if she has anything to say about it.

Sue took to Facebook to give a little background on her dad’s life, and it’s a pretty killer story. The man enlisted in the military after Pearl Harbor, and his service was rather eventful.

She laid it all out on her Facebook page:

“He was a Chief Sonarman on the USS Lamson DD 367. He sailed the world, but saw the most action in the Leyte Gulf and Ormoc Bay in the Philippines. His ship bombarded the coastline and made it easier and safer for the Marines to land. On December 7th, 1944, his ship was hit by a kamikaze plane. Close to 30 shipmates died in that action. Dad tells of jumping from the bridge into fiery waters. He was hit with hot shrapnel and received a Purple Heart for wounds sustained.”

Pretty amazing! And after all that, the man stuck around for another go-round, as Sue’s post notes: “He is very proud of his service and also served as a Sonar Instructor during the Korean War.”

She closed her missive with a request for readers to send her dad some birthday cards to help him celebrate, and posted his mailing address.

We’re going to send Duane some swag from The Dad. If you’d like us to send along a wish from you – please enter it in comments section of this Facebook post. We’ll print all the comments out and include in our package!

Looks like cards are rolling in!

The local news also featured Mr. Sherman: