Paxson is the co-owner of Sushi Note and Sushi Note Omakase and owner of Melanie Wine Bar. “I have owned and operated restaurants in Los Angeles since 2010. Currently my brands are Sushi Note in Sherman Oaks, the soon-to-open Sushi Note Omakase in Beverly Hills and Melanie Wine Bar in Mid City.”
Dad to: Miller, 13, and Winifred, 4
Hometown: Daniel Island, SC
Your most rewarding fatherhood moment: Being a fully committed strong father and husband is what I cherish most in this world. Everything else pales in comparison when I think about that opportunity and what it means, not only for me, but for the people my children will become. There are so many rewarding moments when raising a family because there are also so many daily challenges. To live a clean life and to raise good people takes a ton of energy and focus. I recently heard someone say that people truly become adults once they have children of their own. It is that catalyst that takes us into the next important stage of life and understanding. I find myself enjoying fatherhood the most during those moments when you can really feel the love in the room and the family is all in sync. Maybe it is just my 4-year-old telling me she loves me in her perfect little 4-year-old voice. Maybe it is when my 13-year-old gives me a hug and says “I love you, Dad” because he has felt that love working through him at that time and is compelled to share it. Knowing that my children have a foundation based in love and faith is the best I can do. I believe it is what I was made to do.
A father or father figure who inspires you and why: Both my father, Richard Paxson, and my father-in-law, Randy Moore, have given me such inspiring examples of what it means to be a father. My dad never got to have a relationship with his father past the age of eight. His father left his family, never to return. Losing that male role model is devastating for a young boy and my dad had every right to turn into a bitter angry person, but he didn’t. He became a good person, an artist, a teacher and a great father. He beat the odds, and I directly benefited and still am benefiting to this day as I raise my children. My dad, through his actions, showed me what it really means to not give up and to not accept the negative side of what is thrown at me. There is always a positive result that can come from a bad situation if you take control. The suffering has an important purpose if you embrace it. My father-in-law Randy has been and always will be the most generous person I’ve known in my life with his time and money. He showed me that being the first to offer someone a ride, or to help with luggage, or to run errands for someone has honor and an important place in my life. He is quick to make experiences happen, often on his dime, so others can have a great time. He is happy to sit back and watch his family enjoy those moments that he largely created over all these years. I have known him for over 20 years now and that has never changed. His generosity has set a benchmark for me that I will always strive for.
Biggest challenge as a dad: Without a doubt the biggest challenge is staying in the moment and remembering to never postpone joy. I don’t know why we are made to pick up so easily on the frustrating and exhausting things our kids do, but the truth is that there is so much joy in every moment. When I am an old man and my kids are grown, I don’t want to look back on these years and feel that I have focused on the wrong things. My wife and I are not having any more children. Winifred being 4 years old is that last time we will have a 4-year-old saying and doing 4-year-old things, and those are special things. Talking with my son about this change from being a boy to being a man at 13 years old will pass in a blink of an eye. Will I have done it right? Will I be in the moment with the right humility to appreciate what a gift that is to be in that moment with him? Time will tell.
Best piece of advice for a new dad: Tell your children you love them all the time. Make sure they know that without question. You will fail at times and do and say the wrong things but recognize when that happens, apologize to them, ask them for a “re-do” and tell them you love them. Children are resilient and they want to be close to their parents. Love is real and available to us. Teach them faith in God and the humility to behave first for others and then for themselves. Love and humility are undefeated in this world. They keep you on a most wonderful narrow path.
Your biggest hope for your children: My greatest hope is that they make it through these hard times growing up in our country during this age. I have seen this younger generation gets decimated by social media, smart phones and indoor activities. I fear that that screens and TVs and internet access have created a new world for children that focuses on all the wrong things. Our country has a history of learning hard lessons after many decades pass and many people are lost. I can’t imagine this is any different. My hope is that they grow up to be people who can see through all of this, through the shallow broken promises of the bigger, better, faster movement and be strong confident loving adults who avoided the trappings of technology.
How are you celebrating Father’s Day? Coffee, mass, couch, final round US Open, hazy IPA, late-lunch/early dinner, couch, family movie, bed, all kinds of thankful.