A Conversation with My Father

So, at the graduation party we attended yesterday, my dad turned to me.

“You know, we did have a sex talk,” he said matter-of-factly.

“We did?” I asked.

“Yep. I thought I would sit down with all three of you. You were probably a senior in high school.”

He got us together, and started to talk about safe sex (apparently). Dr. Bro (who was just Bro at the time) got up to leave.

“Where are you going?” my father asked.

“You said this was about pregnancy,” Bro answered. “I can’t get pregnant.”

Dad told him to sit back down.

I recall exactly none of this.

Dad continued. “It amazing to me that the things I remember most clearly, the things that had the most impact on me, seem to be things that you kids forgot. Perspective is interesting. I remember going through something with Bro at one time that was so incredible to me. And he doesn’t remember it at all.”

I’m not quite sure what the implications about this are for myself and my own fretting. I guess as long as I keep the lines of communication open, like my parents did, even if my children don’t remember it the way I do (if at all), everything will turn out all right.

The other story my dad recalled (which I do remember a little better) was about a family meeting we had. We used to have these about once a week. We all had to tell a high point of the week, and a low point of the week.

“We were at grandma’s house (my mom’s mom). They had a little cubby hole under one of the stairs, and you and I had discovered it. We sat in there talking for, oh, 30-40 minutes. That was the high point of your week. Do you know what the low point of your week was?” I shook my head, although I suspected it had something to do with having to leave that little cubby hole. “Your low point was that your brother found us.” Dad laughed. “That brought home to me that I needed to make one-on-one time for my kids. You probably don’t remember it that way at all.”

He’s right, I don’t remember it that way. But I bet it’s not far off. We didn’t get Dad to ourselves very often, and I probably did love that time with him because of that.

Regardless of my concrete memories, I think what is important is that: He did this stuff. He didn’t know if we would remember it, or how — but that’s not what is important. What matters is the fact that we as parents stay active and engaged with our kids, and do the stuff, say the stuff, teach the stuff that we know is right.

Even if our adult daughters grow up and write blogs about how our parents never talked to us about sex.

I love ya, Dad! Happy Father’s Day.

4 thoughts on “A Conversation with My Father

  1. That is so true about getting the solo face time! With a brother and sister at home, (who required considerably more maintenance than I did), I relished any time I could spend with a parent, that didn’t include the sibs. In fact, I even looked forward to getting my allergy shots, just because it meant that Mom and I went downtown by ourselves, and after the shot, we’d go eat at Woolworths.

  2. I figure around 80 percent of what I remember from my childhood is heavily influenced and altered by imagination, revisionist history, and wishful thinking.

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