Posted on June 16, 2017
They’re our providers and our protectors, and they’re never short on hilarious parenting hacks, wisdom, and fun. Simply put, dads are the best! And that’s why – in honor of Father’s Day – we’re highlighting a few of the dads in our Sola family. Read on for some seriously heartfelt insights on fatherhood, and the stories about how becoming a dad changed these men forever.
Daniel had “two drastically different dad experiences,” as he puts it. Daniel’s boys are 44 and 24, and Daniel was still a boy himself when his older son was born. “I was 17, I had just enlisted into the military, and everything was a quagmire back then,” he says, admitting that he never had a chance to bond with his first son during early childhood.
Two decades later, when Daniel found out his wife was pregnant, he says, “It was my mission in life to make it the best pregnancy ever — to be able to embrace what I had missed when my first son was born.”
The second time around, Daniel was “Mr. Mom,” he says. Having a flexible schedule allowed him to fully experience everything he’d missed the first go-around. “All of his doctors appointments, his feedings, his firsts — I did the whole nine yards,” says Daniel.
He and his first son bonded later in life, and have since built a solid relationship. “I love them both the same,” Daniel says — but twenty years made a big difference in what he was capable of as a father. At the end of the day, Daniel has learned that sometimes you just have to do your best and keep your fingers crossed!
Antonio Heath Sr.
This longtime barber isn’t afraid to admit that it was tough work raising three kids, who are now 28, 25, and 22. “I didn’t have to stop doing anything I loved. I just had to understand that I had more mouths to feed. I was working for somebody else beside myself,” Antonio remembers.
But working wasn’t the hard part. “I was just so driven and passionate from the beginning as a barber,” says Antonio. And he loved having a flexible career, which gave him more time to spend with his family. Being an involved dad meant everything to Antonio. “I didn’t have a father in my home when I grew up,” he says, adding, “Being able to give [my kids] the things I didn’t have the opportunity to have — that’s what it’s about.”
Antonio had to “learn how to listen,” he says. But it paid off in the end. Today, he says, “The best part about being a dad is the conversations. It’s not father-son or father-daughter, it’s just two adults talking, and I like that a lot.”
Andrew’s girls are 12 years and 14 months old. “I’m going to have a toddler and a teenager at the same time,” he says with a sigh.
When Andrew’s first daughter was born he says, “I realized I had no idea how to be a dad. That has always been a constant,” he adds. “You have no idea what you’re doing, and you make it up as you go.”
Having children, for Andrew, was “a call for ethical living,” he says. He might have been 30 when his oldest was born, but Andrew still had some growing up to do, and he gladly rose to the occasion. “You want to raise these humans to be good humans,” he says, noting, “And if you want them to believe you, then you have to believe you, too.”
Becoming a father gave Andrew a sense of purpose he’d never had before. Before, he’d been the punk rocker with lots of tattoos. “Parenthood is my chief identifier now. It’s the central part of who I am, and the first thing I tell people about myself,” he says.
It’s a modifier that jives with Andrew’s other job title, and the stylist uses his industry know-how to bond with both of his children. “My younger daughter has a cool Euro mullet going now, so I just trim her bangs. She looks like a South African electro DJ, and I don’t mess with that much,” Andrew says. His older daughter “had a Courtney Love vibe for a long time,” he says. “But she cycled out of that, and we’ve done some pretty fun things, including blue balayage to give her mermaid hair for the swim team.”
Daniel Miniel, Jr.
“Hearing the heartbeat was the thing that first made me feel like I was going to be a dad,” says Daniel, a father to 1-year-old and 3-year-old daughters.
He and his wife “were used to a different lifestyle before kids,” Daniel admits — one where it was easy to pick up and go on a whim. Now, Daniel says, “I’m not so selfish anymore. It isn’t all about me anymore.”
As far as work goes, Daniel says, “Being a dad definitely motivates me to want to do more. That’s why I left my previous employer,” he notes, adding, “I wanted to be my own boss, I wanted flexibility, and I wanted to keep 100 percent of the profits I made.” It’s fun seeing your kids grow up, and being a small business owner, Daniel adds, affords him the time and freedom needed to do just that.
Daniel loves his job, and he loves being at work. But the best part of his day is coming home, and seeing his daughters’ faces light up. Get ready to swoon, ladies: For Daniel, being a family man is all about contributing. Daniel’s wife, Diane Miniel, is also a Sola stylist. “She plays supermom, and I try to meet her in the middle. We both are working parents, and I want to make it easier on her,” Daniel says, adding, “I don’t mind washing dishes, changing diapers, and doing everything else a partner should do.”
Vito took his job as dad serious from the get-go. “The minute I saw [my son] come out of the womb, I realized I had to straighten up and fly right,” he says, adding, “All of a sudden, your kids are the number one thing, and other stuff gets put aside.”
Parenting doesn’t get easier as your kids get older, says Vito, whose children are 28 and 24. The toughest part of parenting, Vito says, is letting your kids learn lessons the hard way, as opposed to telling your children what to do. Vito tried his best not to interfere when his children were learning life lessons, and his patient and dedicated approach to parenting was “totally worth it,” he says.
Whether it’s watching movies on Netflix or enjoying the great outdoors, Vito says he and his partner “still hang out with our kids all of the time. We’re lucky; our kids didn’t want to just run away.”
“The moment I walked through my home’s threshold with a child carrier and my child in it was the true moment — the realization that I’m a father,” says Lee Reynolds, who has a 19-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter. Adds Lee, “For me, it was the most impactful moment of truth in my life.”
It’s not exactly that everything changed. “You do what you’ve always done, except now you have somebody else to tag along with you,” Lee explains, noting that his priorities did shift dramatically when he became a dad.
“I never planned on being a father,” Lee admits. He has been married and divorced twice. “The relationships I’ve had with my kids have been on a part-time basis,” Lee says. “But that doesn’t mean the love is different.” In fact, Lee says, his pre-middle school daughter is the love of his life. “She’s just prior to middle school, and rapidly changing in this millennial culture. She is the one constant in my life,” he says.
And that’s why Lee wanted to be able to be there for his kids. Being his own boss? “Oh, it’s incredible,” Lee says. At Sola, he can get away with working four days a week. “Being an entrepreneur,” he says, “has given me freedom to chase the time with my children, not the dollar. You can always earn money, but you can’t get back lost time with your family.”