When our children were young, I worked hard to teach them good manners and keep them in line. Summers were sometimes difficult because we soon grew tired of each other. “Nothing to do. Bored. Don’t want to work in the garden, blah, blah, blah.” Seems like I could ask them about a million times to do something and they would ooze around, never quite getting to the task. Dad, however, only had to say it once in his deep voice.
“Go to BED!” he boomed, one time, and they scattered like cockroaches. It never failed to amaze me. I always thought it was because I was home and they worked on me all the time. Peck, peck, pecking, until I gave in. Dad was an unknown. They didn’t have twelve hours a day to try the edges of his patience, to work on his nerves. They only had the evening to test him. So, they left him alone most of the time.
This is a phenomena of parenthood I have never figured out, but the children get it rather quickly. There are TWO parents. Two. And yet, our children can only see and hear one parent. We can both be in our chairs trying to nap and they will come in and holler, “Mom, mom, mom, mom can I have the leftover pie?” Or they will bring over their laptop to show me something from the Internet that they want me to order. All of this while I am trying to nap! Their father snores a mere eighteen inches away in his chair. Do they come into the room multiple times saying, “Dad, dad, dad, dad, could you take me shopping at the mall? Can we go to the movies in fifteen minutes?” No they do NOT. They tiptoe around him to get to me. They never bother him, but they listen to him. He says things one time and, for the most part, they do it.
I know this same thing happened with my own mom and dad because when daddy said something it was accompanied by the swooshing/snapping sound of his belt clearing the loops. We couldn’t do it fast enough. Dads simply come with a different perspective on life.
If I ever went to my dad with a cut or hurt his standard response was, “I got worse scratches on my eyeballs.” We learned quickly, that there were no such things as band aids or sympathy for every day, minor hurts. We were to wrap a bit of black, electrical tape around it and keep on moving.
My own children were taught, at the dinner table, how to put their hands in their sweaty armpits to make loud, farting noises. Something only a dad would think of to pass on to their children.
Dads also pack vehicles in certain, specific, algorithmic, space-saving manners. No matter that all the suitcases, coolers, and accessories are already packed and in the car, a dad will need to unpack it and put it in the back of the vehicle in his own pattern, or whatever. They also tie knots in everything. Lots of rope, tarp, and knots.
Most dads like to tinker. They need tools. Big, powerful ones are great but then they also need soldering irons, calk guns, the little chalk line things that kids get to snap, and lots of screwdrivers, pliers, and ratchets of different sizes. Then a compressor and five miles of red, rubber hose for the compressor. Add in a small table saw with his granddads old vise and BINGO they need a barn. Then, they need to be in the barn when they are not at work. My dad, my brothers, father-in-law, brothers-in-law, son-in-law all suffer from this malady. There is something about the barn/shop that calls to dads. We never buy new because dad can fix it. If he can’t fix it, he can tear it apart and work on it as long as necessary to keep him out of the house. This is definitely a Dad Perspective.
My children’s dad took the idler pulley, water pump, and front tire off the tractor/shredder combo last week. Now, it is spread all over the drive and will take weeks of tinkering to get back together. In fact, I expect that the tractor will come back together about the time the kids return to school.
Happy Father’s Day to all dads this week. May your barns ever be full of tools, grease, and coffee cans of extra screws.