Sunday, November 04, 2007

Things that remind me of my dad

Every time I have to tell one of the kids, "I just told your [brother/sister] to stop doing that! Why did you start?!" I think of my father. My father who seemed to ask that question with the same tone of puzzled frustration that I hear in my own voice now. Dad used to seem so clueless at such times.

Poor Dad.

My own earliest memories are from when I was five. Three memories in particular. Having Matthew turn that age makes me think of my dad, too.

When I was five I remember measuring my height against my father. I came up to his belt buckle. I was halfway to being as big as Dad. A huge milestone.

When I was five I got a big yellow steam shovel for my birthday. I am not so old that they were really "steam shovels," but I had read a book in which such earth-moving machines were indeed steam powered and in my five year old mind so they remained. (I don't think this was the famous Mike Mulligan story, but it may have been.) This was the coolest present ever.

When I was five I saved up my allowance -- fifty cents a week? twenty-five? I'm not sure -- to buy a half-sized pair of vice grips. I didn't really have a use for them, per se, but I did know that vice grips were one of my father's most-frequently used tools and therefore having my own made me more grown up by association. (Which reminds me of a modern update to the old adage about vice grips: "Perl is like vice grips. You can do anything with it, and it's the wrong tool for every job.") [Rachel comments, "You're so nerdy." And then kisses me so I guess she approves.]

That's one thing I wish I did more of, is projects with Matthew like my dad used to do with me. I'm relucant to admit this in public, though, because Rachel is full of good ideas for home improvement, and it's really more of a fuzzy "wouldn't it be cool" wish than an actual desire. ["Darn it," she says.]

Rachel adds: "Matthew thinks all the tools belong to me, and Mommy is the one who fixes things."

Just doing my part for modern gender attitudes, Dear.

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