Chicago Dads on Exciting Part of Fatherhood, Legacy, Gift Wishlist & More

For most of us our involved fathers has had some type of impact in our lives. Some of our favorite Chicago Dads-Melvin Jefferson, Trey Berre  and Rich Varnes give us insights into fatherhood and legacy they wish to leave their children.

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Melvin Jefferson II

Melvin Jefferson aka DJ Hash is the other half of ChiTownFashionista’s Nikia Jefferson and their baby MJIII is tooo precious. Get some of his music HERE
As a new father what are some of the most exciting and challenging part?
The unknown is both exciting and challenging for me. Before MJ III was born, I was always thinking about “how would he look?”, “what will his personality be?” “will he be healthy?” and things like that. Now that my son is here and growing, those questions still remain;  more unknowns in the future continue to be somewhat of a challenge because I want to be the best father I can be and I don’t want to make mistakes (although I do know that’s a part of life and no one is perfect). I’m a very proud father.  I am honored to be a father, I don’t take that responsibility lightly.  I look forward to the “unknowns”. These are very exciting times!

What legacy do you hope to leave to your children?

I’ve been collecting music since the age of 10, and now have an extensive music collection that’s still growing.  I think it’s great to be able to leave that to my children, as it is something that defines a great part of who I am. From a spiritual standpoint, I am a God-fearing man with values. I want my children to know and carry on the legacy of being someone who tries to do the right thing and puts his family first.

What advice can you give new dads or soon to be new dads?

To remain positive. There will be difficult, stressful times, but no matter how hard things may seem, it will get better. Just remain patient; Besides, once your child smiles at you, your problems are a distant memory.

How has your dad influenced or shaped you  in becoming a father?

My father has influenced me to be as active as I can in my child’s life.  For every sporting event, recital or play, I want to be there front and center. And he has also influenced me to put my children above all else.

If you could talk to 23 year old Melvin what would you tell him?

I would tell my 23-year old self to save his money and don’t spend so much on frivolous things.

What is your fondest memory with your father?

My dad was a truck driver. I remember him coming home during his lunch time  and letting me ride with him in his truck,  sometimes he would him take me  and with my sisters, to lunch with him. Being up that high in a semi truck was the best feeling in the world to me as a child.

What’s on you Father’s Day gift wish list?

Spending time with my wife and child is the best Father’s Day gift that I can ask for. Anything else is simply icing on the cake.


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Rich Varnes-General Manager RL Restaurant

What are some of the most exciting and challenging part of being a father seeing especially on the type of industry you work in?
The most exciting has to be the time we get to spend together and the trips Cynthia and I take Eleanor. We were invited  to the White house not too long ago and we all took the trip as a family. Another exciting trip we took was to wine country and the wineries, even some that didn’t allow kids, were so kind and treated Eleanor so well. At one winery tasting while the adults were tasting wine they had the kids a soda tasting selections.  The time we get to spend together is very exciting. The challenging part is sometimes missing those times with her. There are some days when I won’t see her until the next day but I am lucky enough to have some flexibility in my schedule.

What legacy do you hope to leave to your Eleanor?
Cynthia and I hope that she grows up to be a decent human being. We hope that she’s someone that grows up to be independent and knows how to quickly get rid of those people with negative energy. The one big fear I guess of any father is that your daughter doesn’t end up with someone that’s not good for her. We hope that we instill in her that she doesn’t have to be reliant on anyone for her livelihood.

Having a child especially under 15yr old in some manner changes your lifestyle, how has that adjustment been?
It hasn’t been too much of an adjustment just because Cynthia and I didn’t really go out that much before. I think the biggest thing is now we have lessons and camp to take her to. Right now she’s in horse camp and she will soon be leaving for a weeklong camp and I can’t wait until she gets back.

As a dad raising a young girl, do you think you will be strict? What will be your dating policy for her?
I don’t think the word is strict but we will definitely be involved in her life. Though part of growing up is learning from experience we don’t want her to associate with anyone that will be manipulative or someone that’s no good for her.

What’s on you fathers day gift wish list?
I don’t really have a wish list, my girls are always spoiling me with gifts and accessorizing me. Eleanor got me this horse tie which I love.  She’s leaving for a camping trip on Father’s day so when she gets back from camp, that will be my father’s day gift we’re going to spend the day together.

What was your fondest memory with your father?
Fondest memory was when I was young and my dad would take me on his work trips. He’s an architect so we would go to the sites and I just remember having so much fun because I got to spend time with him. Sometimes I would sit through meetings  with him which though they weren’t fun, I was happy to be spending time with him.



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Trey Berre

Trey Berre is the co-founder of Artfully Disheveled

As a new father what are some of the most exciting and challenging part?

I think that being a father is always exciting, when it’s your first. You really don’t know what to expect any given day or any given minute, really. The last six months have been quite challenging as having a new family member certainly changes the paradigm you were once used to. Maria and I went from enjoying weekday parties to going to bed at 9:00 PM just to catch our sleep before Fiona wakes us up at 5:00 AM. We definitely take it all in stride because the benefit and enjoyment far outweigh the inconveniences.
What legacy do you hope to leave to your children?
I want to instill in Fiona to be hard working, level headed, confident, and passionate about life.

What advice can you give new dads or soon to be new dads?
I’m not sure I’m one to give advice, but if I were to propose a recommendation for married new fathers it would be to remind yourself to tell your wife you love her.

Having a baby in some manner changes your lifestyle, how has that adjustment been?
No – not really. You definitely find yourself adhering to tighter schedules and making compromises in your personal life – but quite honestly I’m not sure that is a bad thing in my case.
As a dad with a first baby girl, do you think you will be strict?
I honestly considered locking her in her room as soon as we brought Fiona home from the hospital and opening it when she was 24. but the reality is I’ll probably be a huge push over. I’ll leave the disciplinary matters to Maria and I’ll be the “cool” dad – that is until she’s a teenager when she will just hate us both.

What’s on you fathers day gift wish list?
No gifts – Just time with the family.

What was your fondest memory with your father?
As a child some of my fondest memories were of my dad and I hiking in the forest behind our house in Cincinnati. I could remember thinking that the woods always seemed like an undiscovered land that just the two of us were experiencing and exploring for the first time and that was always very exciting to me. I also recall going to buy my first pair of real dress shoes – a pair of black Allen Edmonds – which planted the seed of style deep inside. It just took some time to cultivate and grow.

*images: via, via, via


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