Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads out there.
The important roles men play in our society have been under siege for longer than I want to remember. I cringe every time I see a commercial on TV that shows the man as being inept while showing his wife as being the one with a brain.
I don’t want to go all Dr. Laura on you, but there are certain things that are just the truth: A mother cannot teach her son how to be a man, just as a father cannot teach his daughter how to be a woman. In no way am I denigrating the single mothers and fathers who devote themselves to raising their children. Still, a father can teach his son things that a mother can’t.
One of my favorite family pictures is of my husband and our son shaving. My husband sat our toddler on the counter next to the bathroom sink, and lathered up his face for the morning shave. He lathered up our son’s face, too. They laughed and played with the shaving cream. Then, my husband gave the boy a razor with no razor blade in it and taught him how to shave. I don’t shave my face and neck. I shave my legs and underarms. Skills our young man didn’t need.
The day we took the training wheels off the little bicycle is another instance. I would have been hovering, holding onto the bicycle for way too long, not letting the little guy go for it. My husband whispered something in his ear and told me to stand back. I did. What happened was a beautiful thing. On the third try, he was riding his bike like a pro. They did the guy high-five stuff. It was wonderful.
One more story about how fathers can’t take the place of mothers is this: respect for women (really, for all people). When the boy was coming into puberty, he decided to challenge me about some house rules, and he went over the top in terms of disrespect. My husband gave him the “don’t you ever speak to your mother like that again” speech. And he never did.
You may not like this part, but we had guns while my son was growing up. Guns were in a locked closet. Ammo was in a different locked closet. It made me nervous. So, when the boy was in 4th grade, he took him to a shooting range and taught him how to use a gun. He got kicked in the cheek by a powerful gun, knocked on his behind by another powerful gun. He GOT IT about guns. Aside from the fact that he had no access to the gun closet or the ammo closet, I’m glad my husband did that. Our boy was no longer curious, it was no longer the forbidden fruit. I would never have done that, and I was scared the whole time they were out there shooting “stuff.”
My husband had a massive heart attack and passed away on our bed when our son was 17. We watched it happen, while the EMT men were trying to save his life. That was about 3 years ago.
I’m glad my son had 17 years with a father who was devoted to him. I’m grateful for the lessons he learned that only a father could teach him. My son still has devoted uncles. They are always ready to talk with my son, always ready to be a surrogate father to my son. It is not the same as my son having his own father, but it’s a pretty close second.
Now, on to my own father.
My dad is a Veteran of WWII. He and my Mother raised my brother to be a fine man. We did a lot of things together as a family. Still, there are certain things between my Father and my brother that are just between them. Personally, I think “guy stuff” is good.
My earliest remembrances of my Father: Rubber-banding our feet together while he taught me how to dance (Glenn Miller album), teaching me how to swim, helping me get over my fears and do a perfect jack-knive from the high board in the town’s swimming pool, helping me learn my multiplication tables and how to tell time (in the kitchen, after dinner), helping us bury our beloved little dog in the back yard. I am blessed to call him my Father.
Speaking of which: My Father passed away in 2003. My Husband passed away in 2007. I’m glad my son spent many years with both of these fine men, a wonderful Father and a wonderful Grandfather. My son also has uncles, with whom he is close, who were raised by fine men who were fathers.
My husband was a grilling king. His favorite thing was a strip steak. He would do a little olive oil, some salt & pepper, sometimes a little garlic powder, and then grill them. It’s pretty easy to grill a good steak to medium rare.
My Daddy’s favorite thing to make was Caesar Salad. If you want the recipe, leave a message or email me. I’ll send you the recipe and a little Caesar Salad history.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!