I’ve often said representing you in Congress has been the honor of a lifetime, and that’s the truth. But when it comes to the hardest and most rewarding job of my life, it has been raising my daughters—Molly and Meghan.
Nothing can prepare you for being a father, but I am fortunate to have an exceptional example of fatherhood. I never knew my grandfather. He died when my father was eight years old.
As an only child, my father showed an unimaginable amount of maturity. In order for my family to keep both its house and its garage, at age nine, my father went out every month and scraped together $80 to make the mortgage payment. He earned that money the way kids do, by shoveling snow, mowing lawns and working as a ball boy. But every month he put his family first, and through incredible hard work, he provided for his family. When he became a father himself, I swear he only worked harder.
That set the bar pretty high for me.
Fatherhood is about sacrifice and putting pride and ego aside to put family first. I’m blown away by the fathers of Eastern Long Island. From the military fathers who provide for their families while protecting our country’s freedoms, to the construction workers and fishermen who take jobs hundreds of miles away to make sure their families are secure, the men of this island show what it means to truly be a father.
When you look in your child’s eyes, all you can think of is how you're going to give them every opportunity, every advantage, and every benefit you possibly can. You want them to have everything you didn’t. And when you do your job right, you get to watch your little girls grow into the brilliant, honest, and hardworking women they were meant to become. You’ll watch your daughters start businesses, put themselves through graduate school, and do the kind of work that would make any father proud.
My life’s work is being a father, and I couldn’t be more proud of the results.
Today, I want to wish all fathers a Happy Father's Day and tell all of the young fathers that there's hard work ahead, but nothing will ever be more rewarding.