Carpinteria resident reflects on a father’s bond with his children
This year, Ryan Zick is experiencing his fourth Father’s Day with children of his own.
The Carpinteria resident and associate attorney at Price, Postel & Parma law firm reflected on his journey into fatherhood with nothing but sincere love for his family of four.
Mr. Zick and his wife Raquel — whom many in the city know as the spokeswoman of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office — always had the goal of adopting kids.
“My father was adopted from Ireland, and adoption was always something I was interested in because of the experience my father had,” Mr. Zick told the News-Press. “He came to a really great family and had a lot of opportunities he wouldn’t have otherwise had if he wasn’t adopted, and that was really important to us.”
A few years ago, the Zicks began doing their research, and they determined that fostering was the way to go, because “there were a lot of kids who needed safe homes to go to.” After becoming certified as foster parents, the Zicks had to wait a long year before their first foster children were placed with them.
Brothers Isaac and Josue (Joshie) — then 6 and 4 years old respectively — were placed with the Zicks in 2018, and it wasn’t long before they found a permanent home with Ryan and Raquel, and got adopted. Mr. Zick said that ever since, “it’s just been an absolutely outstanding and wild ride.”
“As you can imagine, we had no real parenting experience before having two kids at our house. We didn’t raise them as little babies like most people do with their biological kids — we just kind of got thrown into it and had to figure it all out as we went, and that experience has just been remarkable,” the father said.
The brothers are two peas in a pod according to their father, and they help and push each other in school, sports and growing up. To Mr. Zick’s delight, he got to see their bond firsthand when the pandemic hit. With the ability to work remotely, he was the primary caretaker for the boys over the course of the lockdown.
The Zicks went above and beyond to ensure their children — as students at Aliso Elementary School in Carpinteria — continued to work hard in school while continuing to be kids as well, even though they had to stay home. From setting up timers on their Alexa devices to resemble daily school bells to taking his kids on a bike ride at the same time every single day, Mr. Zick saw the importance of maintaining structure for Isaac and Joshie.
The boys’ father gave them the majority of the credit for their success. He added that being able to watch his sons first hand each and every day gave him a new perspective as a dad.
“For me, one of the biggest things I learned is to kind of get down on the ground with your kids, and see and do things from their perspective,” Mr. Zick said. “I think a lot of times as parents, we can get wrapped up in our own lives either professionally or personally, and it’s easy to just get through life one day at a time and push through without pausing for a second and taking that extra five or 10 minutes to get on the ground and play Legos with your kids or open up their homework and look at it with them.”
This extra involvement pushed Mr. Zick to set aside more quality time specifically to spend with Isaac and Joshie. While he said his firm was “absolutely accommodating” when it came to parenting while working remotely, he made a point to stick to promises he made to his kids and prioritize them over everything else, including his career at times.
“You have to make the time yourself, too, and that was probably the biggest lesson to me: Time is precious, and use every minute you can with your kids to do the things they want to do. Because when you blink, they’re going to be another year or two years older — you can’t get that time back,” the father said.
The Zicks became involved with the Carpinteria Boys and Girls Club the year they adopted Isaac and Joshie, and they saw the organization as partners in their parenthood. From after-school programs to summer camps, Mr. Zick said the Boys and Girls Club was an “integral part in helping us raise our kids to be good citizens and really grow.”
Mr. Zick was hesitant to take any credit for his “amazing, resilient, smart, fun kids,” and even said he doesn’t see today as a celebration of himself. Instead, he uses Father’s Day to pay mind to the generations of fathers before him and the generations of fathers to come.
“You see, as your kids grow up, you get to see your influence on their lives. And as a father, I always look at my experiences with my kids through the lens of my experiences with my father and how it is similar, how it’s dissimilar, how the lessons I’ve learned through my dad I’m passing onto my kids, and then the new lessons I’ve learned in my own life I’m passing onto my own kids,” Mr. Zick said. “I really reflect on that a lot through my relationship with them.
“Father’s Day, I think, is a time to look at (the fact) that you look up and down. You look at your relationship with your father, your father’s relationship with his father and downward.”
In observing the relationships spanning over generations, Mr. Zick said he believes sons always try to raise their sons better than their fathers raised them, and he hopes that trend continues.
“I think that’s success and that’s how we grow as a community and grow as a species, really,” the father said. “You’re always learning from the generation before you, taking those lessons and improving upon them and hoping you’re doing just a little bit better and that your kids will do a little bit better with their children.”