The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 13, 2008


On-duty dads wait at bus stops and school plaza

Kids swarm at the Great Brook Path bus stop while on-duty dads chat. Dads are, left to right, Robert Jafari, Peter Kirlin and Charlie Lombardi (who spots a blue heron on the pond.). (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)

Kids always like to do special things with their dads. Maybe this weekend some dad is planning to take his kids on a grand adventure, perhaps hiking a challenging mountain or touring a Navy submarine. But the true heroes are those dads who do the mundane, everyday activities and get to know their kids in the process. Those repeated activities help make lasting memories. The Mosquito looked in on some dads who do just that – we found them in the morning waiting for the bus with other dads and at the end of the day gathering the kids off the bus or picking them up at school.

Traditionally it has been moms who saw the kids off to school, but increasingly dads are stepping in. Dads still go off to work … but for some Carlisle dads that translates into walking from the kitchen into their office at home. Still other dads have flexible work schedules that enable them to participate in activities that they usually would miss.

Flexible work schedules

One group of dads (with some moms) gathers frequently at the end of Great Brook Path, a relatively new development off Rutland Street. The three dads who came that day have work schedules that allow them more time with their family.

“I moved here two years ago,” said dad Robert Jafari as he swats at mosquitoes while waiting with kindergartner Blake and first grader Charlie. He drove the kids down to the bus stop as did the other parents. Next year they won’t have to drive; the private road has just been accepted as a public way.

Dad Charlie Lombardi cheerfully explained he is usually the one who brings Dominic and Christopher to the bus stop and “does pickup” in the afternoon. “My wife has the big job,” he explained with a smile while sipping coffee. “I’m the organic chicken farmer.” He suddenly broke off to point out a blue heron in the pond across the street. After herding the kids out of the road he explained he works as a caterer but confessed he loves to take breaks for fishing, his passion, when he isn’t taking care of two-year-old Mia.

Dads more involved in family

Kevin Brown picks up his children, Amanda and Philip, on the school plaza. (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)

Also balancing a cup of coffee, dad Peter Kirlin watched over Gillian and Fallyn as they rotated around him. Due to his long-distance job he spends half the time working at home and half on the road. He feels living in Carlisle is a “value statement.” He sees a change in how dads are more involved in the day- to-day activities of their families, but feels it is “still highly unusual to be in a high position and work at home.” But, he added, as an executive chairman he can arrange his schedule to accommodate family time.

Dads are covering the end of the school day as well. P.J. Jewell, Rick Amodei and Kevin Brown are three of the dads who wait on the Carlisle School plaza for the 3:05 p.m. pickup. Similar to the Great Brook crowd, they work locally and have flexible schedules. Jewell, a construction contractor, said he collects his daughters at pickup “almost every day,” while Amodei tries to be there at least twice a week.

Brown, who is frequently at the plaza, was gathering up a group of Brownies for an adventure to Foss Farm. Jewel noted not only did his dad not pick him up after school, but he rode his bike 4 1/2 miles to his home. “It’s different today,” Amodei agreed.

After-school treats

After school they often take the kids to Ferns or Kimball’s for a quick snack before the next activity. Both men are baseball coaches. Jewell said he didn’t want his kids stuck on a long bus ride home. “The bus ride is 45 minutes,” he explained. The men agreed that sharing the afternoon with their kids was important family time.

Peter Kirlin of Great Brook Path clarified his feelings about family time. “We are family focused,” he said. Instead of golfing with “the guys,” he explained, he plays mini-golf with the kids, or heads to Kimball’s for ice cream. “How else can you get to know your kids if you don’t spend time with them?” he added. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito