A thing I fear is that my children do not know me. Even more, I fear they do.
Parenthood is very tough for those of us without training or past experience. You have to be licensed to fish and drive a car, but parenthood is even more inevitable through total ignorance.
So there you are. My daughters had a rookie father.
Their mother had been trained by years of baby-sitting and a mother who knew how to do it. My kids’ dad was low on experience in parenting.
I only had a general idea of which end to diaper, and I never got over the gag reflex of feeding them liver and peas.
You would think that children raised by such a father would turn out poorly, but what I lacked their mother was able to compensate for.
If I had sons instead of daughters, I might have been able to teach them how to belch and scratch their bellies. Daughters do not wish to learn these things. These were basically my only domestic skills.
As a “Leave It to Beaver” dad, my job was to work outside the home and bring back wisdom. I know I imparted important insights into the vagaries of life to my children.
Their mother, however, taught them to function day to day.
When it came to teaching them how to drive, they chose the one who would not yell at them — and that was not me.
They did ask me philosophical, theological and medical questions. I was always glad to give them advice. They seemed happy to receive it, even when it was beside the point.
For example, I explained early on that it is never a good idea to spit into the wind. They seem never to have fallen prey to that error. I assume they are teaching that maxim to their own children.
It was not that I was never around. I was generally available, like a pair of water pump pliers ready to go when needed. While not needed often, they are important at times.
Being the father of the bride is a great example. Fathers have a big part in weddings — they walk their daughters down the aisle and give away what they never had. They also pay the bills.
If I had it to do all over again, I’d do the same things — because I didn’t know any better then and I know very little today.
Knowing how well their mom did, this will be a happy Father’s Day.
• Mike McLellan can be contacted by calling and leaving a message at 830-4231 or e-mailing him at DrMikeM@sbcglobal.net.