This past weekend we celebrated the man who set the bar high for what it means to be a good father, a good husband and a good person – my father’s 80’s birthday. If you know Chuck Bianco, you find him to be a smart, witty, funny, kind person who is always interested in learning more about life.
As I get older, I realize how lucky I am to still have both of my parents in my life. My dad has always taught me I can do anything. While it may not be easy, it’s possible. If you work your butt off, it can happen.
My mom surprised him by putting together a scrapbook of letters, pictures and memories (which turned into several scrapbooks) because he is so loved by so many people from his high school in Connecticut, to his time at Boston College where he met my mom, his time spent living and working in Atlanta and Dallas and finally the countless service hours he donated to the Catholic faith that is so important to him and my mother.
As I looked through the scrapbooks, I felt such a sense of pride and realization that while I know my dad well, there are so many facets of his life I need to dig into.
It’s hard to capture the magnitude of emotions as you try to convey how you feel about someone who taught you to never settle, that you can do anything and always strive to be your best. Here’s what I wrote:
I was trying to figure out how to express how much you mean to me and your impact in my life. Through the leadership classes that John is going through, he asked me to respond to a question about why I am so driven. I think he had the assumption (no offense) that because you were an Italian man with a daughter as a firstborn, that I had something that I needed to prove. I told him that absolutely was not the case. From as long as I remember, you mentored and encouraged me that I could do anything that I wanted to do. You never put boundaries or guidelines or me being anything less than I wanted to be. As he asked me that question, I realized how much freedom you gave me to take a job in technology where I knew nothing, apply for jobs that I had no experience for and take the Bianco swagger (even if it was false) to convince people I knew what I was doing. Fifty-two years later I’m happy to report that it worked.
Thank you for always standing true (in my eyes) – to mom, to your children, to your grandkids, to your community, to your faith. So many look to you and mom (including me) as the person they want to emulate in so many ways. I admire your quest to continue learning, your willingness to debate (even if we don’t agree) and your incredible love for your family.
You’ve been an amazing husband, father, grandfather, friend and mentor. I am honored to call you my dad. Thank you for being you. I love you so much and happy birthday!
And to celebrate a great man, you have to have great wine. Because he’s Italian, I had to bring a wine from our last Italy trip where we stayed at Terralsole Winery and had wonderful wine where we stayed at Terralsole Winery and had wonderful wine. We opened a 2007 Terralsole Brunello Reserva that hit the mark on being exceptional on a milestone birthday.