Gary Nager Editorial

Twenty years after having both of my knees arthroscoped, and after too many years of trying to deal with being bone-on-bone in both knees (and walking with an obvious limp), I finally decided to get my knees replaced.

Yes, I was motivated for myself, as I wanted to improve my quality of life, but my true motivation was that I wanted to be able to dance at my 30-year-old son Jake’s wedding to Meghan Hathaway, which just happened to finally take place on the Saturday night of Father’s Day weekend.

I say “finally” because Jake and Meghan had to twice put off their wedding celebration with their family and friends, due to concerns about Covid-19, even though they were married at a courthouse more than three years ago. While they were waiting for their first party in 2020, they became pregnant with my now 2-1/2-year-old grandson Jackson (Jax).

The renewal of their wedding vows and reception, which were held in Miami, will forever be among the highlights of my life.

Jared, Jake & their Dad

Perhaps best of all, for me, was that I did accomplish my goal — only nine weeks after having my right knee replaced and 17 weeks after receiving a new left knee, I did indeed get to dance at Meghan and Jake’s big event. I was one of somewhere between 150-200 people — more than 50 of which were members of Meghan’s huge family from Boston — who were able to participate in this magical celebration of their love.

One of the other highlights of the weekend was getting to spend some grandpa time with the adorable Jax — who looks almost exactly like Jake did at the same age (some people even said he looks like me, which made my heart melt). Jannah and I also were able to spend a lot of quality time over the course of the weekend with more than a half-dozen of Jake’s closest friends from Wharton High, some of whom I didn’t recognize at first because I hadn’t seen them at all since their high school days more than a decade ago. 

It also reminded me of how precious this life is, as neither my own father nor mother — Jack and Marilyn Nager — were able to attend the wedding, due to health concerns, although my sister Bonnie was able to make her way down from her home outside of Philadelphia to share this most joyous event.

I can’t imagine a more perfect Father’s Day gift or a better weekend. I finally got to witness the celebration with this most beautiful (inside and out) couple and my older son Jared absolutely killed it with his Best Man speech at the wedding — “I never thought I had a problem making friends until I found out that Jake had more than eight groomsmen. To me, it seemed like kind of an excessive number, but it did make me question my own popularity.” J-Man made me so proud and he even gave me credit for helping him become a better writer. I also got to join in the fun, as I made a toast of my own to the happy couple at their rehearsal dinner.

If there’s ever been a happier father on Father’s Day, I’d like to meet him. Congratulations to Jake, Meghan and Jax, to Meg’s mom and dad, Janice and Kevin Hathaway and this happy couple’s entire family.

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