Teach your children well

fathers day 1Every June, for what feels like forever, I try to find a card that “says” anything remotely related to how I feel about my Dad.  I imagine Father’s Day could be different for men than it is for women; especially if your father is a great success in his marriage and his career and his overall life, and you have always felt you are just shy of a success in his eyes, or perhaps even more so if you have a lazy no-good bum for a dad, and you want to be anything BUT like him…the feeling of wanting to be good enough, not just good, to have your father think as highly of you as you think of him, I think is probably not gender related at all, when you have a father who is the very best of all humans that you know, and have ever known, and likely will ever know…wanting to be as good a person as this person, your dad, is, is daunting I think, whether you are male or female.

Six years ago I was working with my father almost every weekend and often before or after work, building my house.  He was the very best carpenter and the very best teacher and I was the most attentive apprentice and dedicated student that summer.  There are countless things I learned to do, by his side and under his watchful eye, things that I have not done since, and likely will never do again, but still…sometimes, admittedly, I wish he had taught me how to mix the perfect cocktail, slow dance with a boy, bait a hook, sail a boat, surf, or throw a football, or swing a bat, or know whether I need a wedge or a driver, or how to clean and cook a crab, but that was not the kind of father he was, or is…I do however know how to use a 2×4 to hold up a short side of sheetrock while I use my left hand and my head to hold up the other side while using my Makita cordless to screw it into a ceiling joist, and I am the only girl I know who owns more router bits than nail polishes, and I  know how to weld and can honestly say I was excited to get a self-darkening helmet one year for my birthday, I know how to install outlets and switches, and how to winterize plumbing and turn it all back on for the summer, I know how to finish trim a house, and I know how to install hardwood floors, and-and-and…every single day I think of something that he taught me, and while some of it, let’s be honest, none of it really, might ever be used again in my life, the details are in my mind…perhaps never to be retrieved from my memory again, but taught to me by this man I love who is my Dad…

My father loves my mother with a depth and kindness and patience that is mind-blowing…daughters and mothers, I am told and so often have read, are well known to often have a difficult relationship at times, and indeed ours often was and sometimes still is, so at periods of my life, oh too many times, I would think, “how can HE love HER so much, this woman who drives me crazy??!!”  The older I grow, the more I know this is natural and rather prevalent in most modern families…I suppose more than anything I learned from him that love has many levels, and takes many forms, and what somebody does not see or can not see in a person, somebody else does…there is value in that kind of teaching, even when we don’t know we are learning…I’ve read a famous quote, countless times, that the best thing a man can do for his children is love their mother, and perhaps it is true.

My dad is retired now, but many of my customers were once his, and too often I hear, “you are just like your father” and I want to tell people that it is impossible, but the highest compliment, as he is the greatest of humans…I feel that if I can be half the person he is, I can be content in my life…There is not a card at any store during any June that has ever said anything to my Dad that I feel in my heart or in my brain…He taught me to be a good person and to never be an asshole, but he never said a curse word in front of me, so technically he never taught me to not be an asshole, but he has said instead to make plenty of deposits in my karmic bank, and I think that is very much the same thing…he taught me that I can be patient and true to my heart’s voice, that it is really only with the heart that one can see rightly…what other people may not see, I can see, that what is essential might be invisible to everybody else, that is a big lesson, and I learned it from my father…he also has made me know and understand that tomorrow I could be run over by a pie wagon, and that each day or hour of my life could be my last, and to do my very best as a human, to be ready to go at any time… and while to most of you, these might seem like useless “things” to teach a person, they are to me, priceless…

fathers day 3



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