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.

Belated: Happy Father’s Day

It always struck me as a little unfair that babies usually said “da-da” before they said, “ma-ma”. At least, my babies did. In some cases, the sound/words were close together — Michael of course being the exception. He’s been saying “dah-dee” for *months*, and only just started saying “mah-mnee”. He’s making up for the lag by saying “mah-mnee” every .7 seconds, though.

From an evolutionary standpoint, saying daddy first is probably advantageous, right? You’re this little wrinkled defenseless being, your mom, while soft and good smelling and your food source, probably isn’t bringing home the bacon otherwise, or scaring away the saber-tooth tigers. That big, loud hairy thing that hangs around the fire (making funny smells while he’s there) seems more intimidating. Why not win him over to your side?

Dan didn’t wait until hearing his first “da-da” to be utterly devoted and captivated by his children; most modern-day fathers probably don’t. He was pretty much hooked from birth (if not a bit before). They barely got those babies — our babies — out and cleaned up before his heart was lost.

How funny language is. Because it’s not that his heart was lost, or gone, or melted. If anything, for Dan, it was the opposite. That in Flora, Kate, and Michael, Dan’s heart was found — especially after our loss of Gabriel. That part of his reason for being in this world was fulfilled in becoming not just a father, but a “da-da”.

This post is a day late because we were so busy yesterday, probably not the most ideal of Father’s Days in my husband’s view. We cleaned, and had brunch for his father and brother-in-law, set up a kiddie pool, and then got everyone cleaned up (again!) to go to my brother’s for dinner with him and my father. But ultimately, I know that being woken up (not until 10 a.m.!) by his children and their big handmade card was pretty much the pinnacle for him. That we can celebrate my husband’s fatherhood means the world, and not just to him.

Happy Father’s Day

Dear Fathers,

Whomever and where ever you are, I hope you get to do what you want today. For DearDR, that will mean sleeping in until it’s time to make pancakes with the girls. For my dad, I’ve no doubt that means golf and good food. For Dr. Bro, probably grilling something meat-based and lots of beer. For my BIL-IL (SIL’s husband), probably just hanging at home. Maybe Niece will take a day off from spontaneous tears (fingers crossed for ya, BIL-IL). My FIL: good food and good family and good naps.

I hope you don’t get too many ties. I hope your grandchildren send you cards with their own artwork in them. I hope you get a weed whacker or a new pair of shoes or whatever other manly gift you desire.

I hope that being a father (and an uncle and a grandfather) makes you happy.

God bless fathers. Have a fantastic day.