The Shmata Queen says I love quotes and I won’t disagree because I do.
Some of it is because I love words and stories and looking for ways to connect them all but it is also because I love learning.
A good quote doesn’t have to have any substance to it. Sometimes it is just funny but my favorites are usually those that give me something to think about and learn from.
Will You Always Need Your Father
There is no punctuation at the end of that line. It is intentional because I am not sure how I want to it to read yet and even if I come up with an answer I may leave it for the reader to decide what should be there.
Yesterday I called my father and asked for some help. I wanted to borrow a couple of tools so that I could work on some projects at my house and I wanted to talk to him about some of the other crap that has been going on in my life.
Dad and I have always had a good relationship but like any parent/child relationship there have been moments where we wanted to kill each other.
Most of them are long ago but there have been a few in recent years that have been far more difficult probably because when you hit your mid forties you are less tolerant of some things.
Still I will never forgetÂ The Best Thing My Father Ever Said To MeÂ not just because of how good it was to hear but I recognized I could ask dad for advice or just chew the fat with him without wondering if he was going to give me a lecture about how or what I was doing.
Indulge me for a moment while I mention that it was my friend Leon of The People We Meet Online fame who provided me with an article about parenting that I used as part of the post about the best thing my father ever said to me.
It really is too bad Leon is gone because I would have written him today to mention his influence again and how it ties into the Mark Twain quote above but such is life, sometimes we miss opportunities.
Dad surprised me again yesterday by telling me I am putting too much pressure on myself and pushing me to slow down a bit.
When I told him some of this is his fault and that I am reflecting the lessons I learned as a kid and teenager he laughed.
“Yeah, I told you to take responsibility for your life and to work hard. I told you to run through the walls when you had to and push hard but it’s different now.”
When I asked him what was different he told me that Â thirty years ago he worried about giving me too much leeway to not work hard and family historyÂ bitÂ me again.
“Remember when you were tested in school and we found out that you were gifted? You stopped working as hard in school and you took some shortcuts. Your grades were still good but you didn’t always apply yourself the way you could have and I didn’t want that to continue.”
I looked at him and shook my head.
“C’mon dad, that didn’t always happen.”
“No, not always. When you wanted something you worked harder than everyone but you were stuck in the too smart but not smart enough contradiction. If you put that effort in consistently your grades would have reflected it. But that is in the past and there is no point discussing it.
The point is that some of the stuff you are going through now has nothing to do with you as a person. Not one thing is tied into you other than you are experiencing it. So you need to figure out how to dial back that intensity or you’ll make yourself sick.”
Dad and I went back and forth for a bit and talked a bit about his dad and grandfather and what they would have said and then I left.
The sunshine of the prior days had been replaced with rain which lent itself to thinking so I drove around the corner and parked the car to consider it all.
Dad had mentioned how sometimes he missed talking to his dad and I thought about how my grandfather had mentioned he missed talking to his.
It made sense to me. All of my friends who have lost their fathers have told me they miss them. I hope to get another 50 years before I join that club.
Books, Wisdom & Fathers
A few moments before I left my parents’ house I asked to borrow a computer because it is easier on my eyes.
Mom asked if I have started using reading glasses and I told her only when I am very tired or in very poor lighting.
She smiled and told me not to tell my middle sister because “she is blind without her reading glasses. I don’t think she likes being in her forties.”
I laughed and said I was on the fence. Some of it has been rough and some of it has been awesome.
Reading is a passion and I never have enough time for it.
I have a stack of books and magazines on hand at home at all times. Outside of the house I rely on my phone and apps or laptop if I have taken it with me.
Given a choice I prefer to be surrounded by books because like Twain said I can’t help but feel like wisdom and knowledge is seeping into me.
That is part of what fathers are good for. Repositories of knowledge and wisdom that can be shared for whomever is wise enough to ask and understand.