Well, Father's Day has once again come and gone . . .

leaving me thinking about (naturally) my father.

It was my husband's first Father's Day without his dad, who is missed every day of course, but who seemed particularly absent on a holiday meant to celebrate him. Which was strange and sad, difficult and unbelievable all at once.

And which made me think about my own dad a bit more, perhaps.

And when I think of my dad, one of the first thoughts that pops into my head is "intelligence."

Because my Dad is really, really smart.

Or he's a really, really good con man, because he seems to know everything from tree names to geography to synthetic hair, complete with all the appropriate scientific jargon.

And if (as we often suspect) he doesn't know these things but is instead making it all up as he goes along, he almost always SELLS it.

In fact, there's probably a reason he was such a natural to play Professor Harold Hill.
(I had not made that connection until this moment.)

But anyway, one day as a kid my Dad said to his mother something along the lines of:

"It's amazing that I'm so smart when I have such dumb parents".

I wasn't there, of course, but I'm guessing his mother was less than amused. (However, as he was an only child and she had a heck of a time getting him here, she put up with him.)

On the other hand, some of the events of the past week have left me willing to re-examine the veracity of his childish claim.

In Saturday's newspaper, in anticipation of Father's Day, they ran a little feature in which they asked people to write in and share the best bits of wisdom they had obtained from their fathers.

My favorite was this:

"If kids weren't smarter
than their parents,
we'd still be living in caves."

The lady who submitted it went on to explain that she couldn't help but think of that every time she asked her 8-year-old for tech support on her cell phone and iPod.

Ouch, right?

Speaking of which, my beloved iPod died a week ago today (age 1 year). And don't think I haven't already consulted all three of my children on this topic. It was of course the first thing I thought of.

(I have not yet consulted my 6-year-old granddaughter, but don't think I won't consider it next time I see her.)

In fact, my entire last week was rather technologically challenging, which left me more than a little cranky. Because one of my indispensable, outrageously expensive Ott Lites (also age 1 yr.) died as well, leaving these poor old eyes unable to thread a needle that a youngster could probably drive a truck through.

And while we're on the topic of technology, you may have wondered how and why an Etsy shop popped up on Small Works last week. No fanfare. Because I, like the rest of you, basically went to bed one night and woke up the next morning and there it was.

My youngest just happened to be looking in my cupboards one day and observed that I had a lot of old (but still pretty good) stuff piled up and said, "Mom, you need an Etsy."

I was quite certain I didn't have time to learn to use Etsy, in addition to the thousand other technological challenges that I endure every day, so I immediately pooh-poohed the idea.

But she just rolled her eyes and had the whole thing set up in about 15 minutes. Smarty.

Still, as brilliant as all these young whippersnappers are, there's something to be said for Mark Twain's old words:

"When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years."

I second that.

I just can't imagine a world in which I couldn't call my Dad for help when I need it,

even if as a preface to the advice he does something wacky like explain to me how global warming is a myth or a left-wing conspiracy.

Because at this point in my life I know how much he genuinely cares -- he really loves me and wants me to succeed. And (we both know) he won't be around to give me shoves in the right direction forever.

My children love me too, of course,
but as Francis de Sales said,

"Children are very nice observers, and will often perceive your slightest defect."

Whereas, while I'm sure my dad remembers all my defects with perfect clarity, at this point in our lives he chooses to just think I'm great.

Either that or he's a really, really good con man.

Doesn't much matter either way,
because it seems the final product of parenting
is the parent, not the child,

. . . and I think he turned out just swell.


fromthepines said...

Woohoo! Looks good and you already have sales!


susan m hinckley said...

Yes, Cheryl -- thanks for your encouragement! I think it's going to be fun.

Jake and Chelsea said...

excellent post mom. some great quotes! i love that mark twain one. mark twain's dad couldn't have been that dumb to have had mark twain for a son.
also, on the way home from boston we listened to the music man and i told jake that grandpa was harold hill and he said, "yup, i can see that."

Allie said...

what a fun post! Your dad sounds like a great guy - you did good. *G* Etsy shop looks great!

Daryl said...

What a poignant and thoughtful post. Thanks for such a gift.

Amelia and Justin said...

I loved this post. Honestly though, you only just NOW realized why Grandpa was such a perfect fit for Harold Hill?? :)

The Mark Twain quote was my favorite - although Grandpa's quote was pretty good too :)

VO said...

LOL, was your mom Marion and your dad swept her off her feet with his smooth talking?

It's really lovely to hear your stories of your dad. Mine has been gone since '86 and I don't think I knew him as well as I might have had he survived to see what we would have discovered about each other nowadays.

Your posts gives me things to imagine.

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