Being a dad has its moments. To me, it always has felt like a dad needs to be able to maintain a mental list of immediate and future ‘to-dos’. “Dad, can you do this?” is asked even as you are still trying to do what was asked of you not 1 minute ago…. “In a minute” is my standard response, so much so, that when I ask my daughter to do something that is exactly what she tells me!
Being a dad also seems to always involve building things. Quite honestly, I have never been good at building things and so I often find myself dreading Christmas when, invariably, there are legos, toys and goodness knows what to build…. all while being asked “Is it ready yet?”.
It’s moments like these when I can’t help an unfavorable comparison to my own father. Not only could he build things, he actually invented things for us kids. I recall many times hearing strange sounds from his workshop and then being surprised by things like; a working Dalek (I kid you not… it was based on a small tricycle so you peddled it sat on a seat, it had a working ray gun and an arm that could grab and hold things and…. you could see using a periscope type mirror arrangement), a working and functional ghost detector just like the ones from the ghostbuster movie for my son Paul (It was based around a light meter and it really functioned!) and I could go on and on. My dad was the dad – he really was.
He also had a super sense of humor (some would say wicked!). I recall him going out of his way to tell us a story about witches flying on broomsticks one Halloween. These witches would sit outside naughty children’s windows and their presence could be detected by the knocking of their broomstick on the window. Sure enough, our window was later subject to strange knocking sounds that we finally discovered was my Dad with a large wooden clothes line prop…..Then, there was the spider trick. My Dad loved making spiders out of tangles of fishing line. He would then rig the thing so that when a door was opened or, you got into bed, spider would descend onto your unsuspecting head….. Neville the devil they called my Father!
But I digress.
I realize I will never be my father. I have to be me. I have to find ways to be a good and memorable Dad in my own way. Maybe I have succeeded maybe I haven’t. But I do try. I do work my way through the to-do list eventually, I do build things (even of maybe they don’t work so well) and I do play but I hope I also encourage and try to make my kids think. I hope they remember me as someone who stretched them a bit and got them interested in something…. I hope I can give them a sense of the magic of life too. How unique they are and how they have all the gifts and talents they could ever need to succeed. all I can do is try to prepare them for life.
I think the rest is probably up to them.