Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday Reminescences: Satherhood

Here's my dad and brothers in November of 2004.

I thought in honor of Father's Day, I'd tell a story about my Dad, and one of the most important lessons he taught me. (This is how I remember it, so I apologize if this isn't exactly how it happened. I also apologize to Anne for remembering one of her not-so-good moments. We all know I've had my fair share of them.)

I was 14 or 15, and my sister Anne was 16 or 17. Dad had a big black truck, which was parked on the far left of the driveway. Anne had her bright blue 1970 Dodge Dart parked just to the right of the truck. I came in a friend's car, just to run and grab something in the house, and we pulled up slightly offset behind the truck, so we overlapped Anne's car by 6 inches or so.

I ran inside and got what I needed and came back outside where my friend was idling in the driveway. Dad was out playing basketball with my younger brother (I think) and some neighbor kids. I stopped at the top of the driveway, probably to explain where I was going, who with, when I was going to be back, etc, when Anne needed to leave. She started backing up, but had to angle her car a little bit, so as not to hit my friend's car. I suppose she underestimated how long her hood was, because she ran right into Dad's truck and scraped down the side of it a little bit until the car cleared. She looked at me, I looked at her, we both looked at Dad. After a second of stunned silence, he asked for the basketball, shot a basket, missed, and went into the house to make a phone call.

I don't remember what we did next, if we went inside to apologize, or if we just left because we didn't know what else to do. I for sure don't remember being yelled at, or my sister getting in trouble.

This event cemented something in my brain about my Dad, and taught me some lessons about what kind of parent and person I wanted to be.

1. I learned that freaking out is not helpful, and is, in fact, counterproductive. This has shaped a lot of the way I handle difficult situations, I think. I have a very, "well, let's solve the problem" outlook on life. When friends call with problems or to complain, I often ask if they want me to fix it, or to just listen. Nursing school and working in the hospital wasn't as stressful for me as it was for some of my classmates, because of my just-get-in-there-and-do-the-thing philosophy.

2. I learned that my dad could be rational if I ever did anything wrong.

3. And, I learned that our possessions are just stuff. It's not worth making your kids scared of you to yell endlessly at them because they ruined something. My dad restored classic cars, putting hours of work and untold dollars into these cars that I got to drive around as soon as I got my license (and sometimes before). I remember lecturing my friends on how to treat the car and not to slam the doors, but I don't remember being inordinately afraid of crashing or otherwise wrecking the car.

So, thanks Dad. Happy belated Father's Day.

1 comment:

Bridget said...

Happy Falker Satherhood! Is that what you're referring to? So funny. So the phone call that he went into the house to make wasn't to an agency to pick up delinquent youth or anything?

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