If you’re a member of the Aerie fam, you already know that being #AerieREAL means being real every day. And Father’s Day is no exception! 

Speaking of fam, this year for Father’s Day we sat down with our own Marc Lambo, Senior Director of Store Operations at AEO Inc., to talk about his own journey to fatherhood. Marc spoke candidly with us about the process that he and his husband, Joe, went through to adopt their daughter, Skylar. We also asked Marc a few questions about parenting advice, his personal role models and how he plans on raising Skylar with REAL values. 

Read the full interview below! 

How and when did you know you wanted to be a dad?  

I think I always knew I wanted to be a parent, but I pushed it into the back of my mind because I was not sure how it could happen. The process of having a child is not always easy for every person or couple, but being gay has limited options of becoming a parent and is never a guarantee. 

What was the adoption process like for you and your husband?  

Joe and I were lucky to have close friends and family that were very familiar with the process and helped provide us with knowledge and expectations. I won’t lie, the process is a lot of work, but of course worth it! It’s an emotional process that requires an abundance of patience. We held our breath for many months in hopes the outcome would work in our favor… and fortunately for us, this time it did. 

Were there any challenges or pleasant surprises about the process?  

The uncertainty of what can happen and how and when things change was definitely a challenge, but with that being said I felt our process and experience was a great one. We feel very fortunate. 

Who do you look to as a role model for fatherhood and parenting? Have any of them given you guidance on raising a girl?  

Joe and I are lucky to have both of our parents and families nearby for any support on raising a child. We don’t hesitate to ask questions or for tips on certain situations. We believe it’s important for children to have multiple role models and influences in their lives. 

What are the most important aspects of fatherhood for you? How do you enact those values as a parent? 

Besides raising a child that laughs at all of our jokes, it’s important that we teach her the importance of quality time with friends and family. Joe and I are close with our families and have many cousins whom we grew up with and are still close with to this day. Showing Skylar how close we are with our cousins and parents will hopefully teach her the importance of having those relationships with her cousins as she grows older. 

How do you plan to raise your daughter to be REAL?   

I think it’s important for her to learn that being yourself is REAL and is what makes her beautiful and special. We believe the best way to do this is to provide endless support and love, and for her to naturally grow into the person she is meant to become. 

Do you have any advice for parents, especially dads, who are raising girls?  

Skylar is almost a year old and it’s amazing how fast they grow and change each week. My advice would be to find as much time as possible to enjoy it. Leave your work at the door and ensure your deep love is on display for them. It’s not easy to always see past the stain on the new shirt, or the messy living room… but when you make eye contact with your child the most important thing is to show them that your face lights up. 

 How is your family celebrating Father’s Day this year?  

We are starting the weekend off with Joe’s family in Deep Creek, MD then will celebrate with my family when we return. Joe and I are lucky to have our fathers in our lives, and It’s important for us to continue to show them how thankful we are for the way they accepted and raised us. We know how fortunate we are to have the parents that we do. 

We’re grateful to Marc for sharing his story with us. Now, we want to hear yours. What does Father’s Day mean to you? How are you being REAL today? Tell us in the comments! 

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