Father-of-two Matt Goldwasser shares his experiences as the dad of 2½-year-old Ari and 9-month-old Alison. Matt answers our questions about adjusting to life with two kids instead of one (hint: everything takes longer!) and how he and his wife, JulieSue, deal with his son’s leukemia. Matt is a managing partner at Goldwasser & Company, LLC, an insurance advisory firm in Newton that specializes in providing life and disability insurance to small-business owners, financial consultants and medical and legal professionals.
Your son was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 19 months old. What helps you and your family get through this challenging time?
The most significant factor has been an amazing support structure, combined with some of the leading physicians in the world treating our son’s disease. Our friends and family have provided profound assistance to us, whether it’s running errands, watching the kids or helping to prepare meals. Basically, whatever we’ve needed, someone has been there to help. Also, knowing that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel has provided a great deal of comfort. As things are, we’re at roughly the halfway point in our son’s two-year treatment, so the knowledge that the worst is likely behind us is reassuring.
What advice would you offer to other parents dealing with similar medical challenges?
Be optimistic, cherish each day and love your children. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the doctors, nurses and other parents in similar situations. When our son was first diagnosed, I was wrestling with the “why us?” conundrum. Once I accepted the reality of the situation and understood the length and depth of treatment he would need, it gave me hope and encouragement that he would one day be OK.
What has been one of the biggest parenting adjustments as you expanded your family from one child to two?
We find we must frequently divide and conquer household tasks. One of us might be making dinner for our daughter or changing a diaper while the other is playing with our son. Everything just seems to take a little bit longer than it once did.
What do you wish for your children?
I imagine we’re no different from any other parent at any other point in time—we want our kids to grow up in a safe environment, get a great education, make friends, have a great career, have children of their own one day and be happier, healthier and more successful than we are.
What do you most enjoy about being a dad?
I love seeing my son’s reaction every time I come home from work and walk through the door. Being called “Daddy” gives me an incredible feeling of pride. I love chasing my son around the house and playing with him in the park, and making my daughter smile and trying to get her to laugh. The mere fact that two people are totally dependent on me and my wife and have such unconditional love for us is truly humbling and remarkable.
How do you balance the many priorities in your life right now, including your daughter, your son’s medical appointments, work and your marriage?
Being in business for myself, I have a tremendous amount of flexibility. Every Wednesday morning I take time off so that my wife and I can take our son to his regularly scheduled Dana-Farber Cancer Institute visit. I’ve become extremely efficient via email and cell phone, so the fact that I’m not in the office hasn’t hindered my ability to get work done. My wife is an amazing mother, so that makes my job as a dad substantially easier.
What’s the best Father’s Day gift you could receive?
Just an easygoing day at home with the family is all I need to make me happy.