Still the One Special Dad—and Things he Taught All of Us

Dad Pictures 005Gifts my dad gave me and how they relate to life and diabetes:

…..don’t start something you won’t finish.
I will stop this diabetes journey when my kids are able to and not one second before.

…..if you believe in something, say it, do not spend the wasted time defending it because if it is as you truly believe; it will come true and no defense is better than succeeding.

…..learn to laugh at yourself, don’t take yourself so seriously.
I cannot count the amount of times I have started with myself as an example to lighten a mood, a speech, or a discussion.  This has served me well in life.

…..if not for your kids, who?
My dad was a regular working guy and the amount of time he spent with us especially dealing with Little League Baseball was something I will always remember. He never made a lot of money but I honestly do not think of anything that his six children were ever in want.  We had what we needed.

….nicknames for your kids are cool….no matter how silly they seem to anyone else.

…..never think kissing your son is not manly.  It is the most manly thing on earth.  (I love this lesson).

…..learn from mistakes and move on.
My dad was surely not perfect and he often stated to learn from what he did wrong without ever stating he was wrong.  He had faults like the next person, he had things he had to deal with just like the next person……but he always moved forward.

…..don’t ask someone to do something that you will not do yourself.
This was the equalizer; displaying that we are not better than anyone else; and no one is better than us.

……the night before school started each year, meant ice cream sundaes.

…..when we were done opening our Christmas gifts, there was always one more; a “kitchen gift”.

And the most important lesson that my dad taught his children and his grandchildren.
…..Love one Another.  These were not merely words in our house they were three words of which everything else was based.  He said them almost everyday and it was something he found to be crucial in our lives.  It had to do with everything around us but most specifically, the family.  If you spoke a cross word to each other you paid a price, if you disrespected, you paid a price, and if you disrespected my mom or him—you paid a dear price.  It is a lesson that will surely be passed down for generations.

My dad died on March 16th, 2009.  Not a day goes by I do not miss him.  Not a day goes by I do not miss his voice, his Aqua Velva smell, his laugh, his advice, his jokes and talking about the Mets.  If your dad is alive, love him—-the day will one day be closed and you will miss him forever.

Happy Father’s Day Doggie Daddy; Love your Auggie Doggie.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Why I Love Being a Dad….Why Do You?

HonorKids are amazing.

With this weekend being father’s day I thought I would write (and also ask you to share) a few things that I have always liked about being a father.  What do you like?  What does your husband like?  What was your fondest memories of your kids; that makes you love being a dad?  Please share.

I love to watch our kids succeed.  Few things make me happier than seeing my kids excited about a compliment at work, a good grade, a home run in little league, a great play in lacrosse, graduation, ‘getting that job’, being accepted into college–and the list goes on and on.

I love just speaking with my kids.  All three of my kids are as different as night and day.  They have different views.  They are as liberal as they are conservative; they have opinions and I love when we discuss everything from politics to movies.  A philosophy we have lived by is that you cannot learn anything unless you enter the discussion that you do not know.  Our discussions have never been to ‘change the opinion’ of the person but just to share why we feel a certain way and be able to justify it.  Alway engaging.

I love when I go to vote and see that my kids have already voted.  This thrills me to know end.   I love this country and one of our all time freedoms is the right to vote.  “Someone died to give us that right” and I take it seriously, I love when they do also.

I love when they see an injustice and not only have an opinion about it but try to do something to correct it.  A bully at school, speaking dishonorably about someone, social injustices, abuse, and on and on—-they know what is important, and they are not shy to say anything when they see it.

My kids are not perfect which is something they surely inherited from me.  They make mistakes.  They’ve made mistakes.  They do not do things the way I would always do things and that annoys me sometimes, because I always am correct….right (wink wink)?  I know they will find their own way and I know they have great futures ahead of them. 

They will give you a strong handshake when they meet you, they will hug you when they leave.  My sons are 17 and 26; nothing makes me happier than the fact that they shake my hand and kiss me hello and goodbye; and they could care less if anyone sees it.  They have done it…..always. 

They all have dreams and goals and they strive for them.  They work toward them.  Their moral compasses are pointing correctly.  Respect, love, and honor.

They are my kids, I love them, and they are the reason I love Father’s Day because they give me the best gift each year which is my favorite present on earth—-they give of themselves.  They know who they are, what they are, and where they want to be in this world.  A dad could ask for nothing more.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Dad, Father, Pop, Daddy, and Diabetes—-SIGH

DadHappy Father’s Day to all of you dads.


Dad are unique breed when it comes to diabetes.  We try to look like we have it all together but in truth, we become a mess.  There are millions and millions of Hallmark Cards that tout the strengths of dads and the things dads do that make them such special people.

Here is an inside look at a dad’s mind.  In our minds, we can do anything.  We can protect, provide, support, build, and fix anything (although we have a hard time remembering to put the toilet seat down).  In our own twisted minds we are the superman of the family.  We can do it all.


On the day Kaitlyn was diagnosed on September 26th, 1992; she looked up with those two-year-old-big-round-eyes and said; “Daddy, fix”.   The realization that at that moment I could not do that crushed me.  It crushes me to this day.  I cannot fix this for Kaitlyn and now, for Rob either.

But I will keep trying.

I have observed, over my long tenure, the way this diabetes dynamic has entered the household.  There is no rule book and many times the mom takes up the control of the daily diabetes management.  Sometimes it is a discussion on who needs to do what; but many times it evolves with no discussion at all.  It is never too late to have that discussion; assumption can be dangerous and many times diabetes is just not discussed, it probably should be discussed.

Dads are tough.  But know this point—when our children are diagnosed we are absolutely devastated.  We think it is our job to show a strong front and that it all will be okay one day.  But it won’t be okay.  Not ever.  It will stay the way it is until a change occurs.  Better management tools will certainly come along but the bottom line is that nothing will get done to cure our children unless WE DO IT.

Ask yourself if you are doing enough and make up your mind to get to the point where you feel like the daddy truly trying to fix.  And start this weekend, father’s day.

Years ago I was introduced as Diabetes Dad Tom Karlya when I was the keynote speaker at a Children with Diabetes Conferences.  I never stated I was ‘The’ diabetes dad; just ‘a’ diabetes dad—-just like you.  No one knows what it is like to be a diabetes dad unless you ARE a diabetes dad.  The name has stuck since; and I wear it proudly with all my brothers who are also a diabetes dad.

Happy Father’s Day.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.