#273 In which our hero writes his yearly letter to his dead father.
Yesterday was Father’s Day. The Scientist had to work, and I had a bunch of stuff to do around the house, so it wasn’t exactly the most festive Father’s Day ever… but I did spend a bunch of time hanging out with the girls.
I am sometimes amazed at how much of me I see in them. Lily looks like me, so there’s no denying parentage there. But more so, she acts like me. She’s timid around strangers, until she warms up to them. She’s sometimes nervous to try new things, and frets about how things will happen, who will be there, if anyone will talk to her, and so on. She’s quick to feel wronged, and have her feelings hurt. She’s emotional and sensitive.
All like me.
Macey acts like me, too, but in a completely different way. She’s pig-headed and quick to anger. She’s more likely to lash out then cry when wronged. She likes to get her own way, and woe be to the person in her way.
This is kinda like me, too. Maybe more like her mother, though.
So it had me thinking of how I’m like you. I know there’s a physical resemblance, because people have remarked on it. I am balding now, just like you did. But more than looks, I think I act like you.
I remember how much you hated unexpected delays and hassles. And how quick you were to get angry about them. I’m like that, too; even though I’ve made a concerted effort to be more mellow, to try to just go with the flow and not let it ruin the day. I’ve been somewhat successful in that endeavor.
But on a more positive note, I have your sense of humor. I’ve always been the “funny friend,” which is a blessing and a curse, I suppose. But I laugh a lot, and the fact that my wife can make me laugh—HARD—is proof positive that I’ve married the right woman.
Mom sometimes slips and calls me “Ted,” which means she sees you in me as well. You’ve shaped me in ways that I can’t even imagine. And if I ever have cause to doubt that, I need only look at my watch.
I wear my watch with the strap on the top of my wrist, and the numerals facing down. I’ve never really given it much thought as to why, this is just how I wear my watch. To me it’s just like the fact that I wash my left armpit in the shower before my right… it’s not a conscious decision I’ve made, it’s just something I do, and have always done.
However… this isn’t really the case. I recently came across a newspaper clipping from when I had won some sort of drawing contest when I was 10. In it, there’s a photo of me holding the winning drawing, and you can clearly see my watch. It’s an oversized black plastic deal with, God help me, a built-in calculator. But I’m wearing it with the face on the top of my wrist, like almost everyone does.
You always wore you watch “upside down,” like I do now. I remember asking you about it once, and you told me that you did that because in college you didn’t want to be constantly reminded of the time, so you flipped your watch around so you couldn’t see it as easily.
I’ve also had people tell me that this is a workman’s way of wearing a watch; presumably so the breakable bits were further away from harm for those who work with their hands all day. I guess you could say that I work with my hands, if typing counts. Actually, my watch face is more scratched up from clinking on the wrist rest then it would be if I wore my watch the “normal” way.
I look at 10-year-old me and see that I did make a decision about my watch at some point. And that decision was to wear my watch like my dad did. Just one more way that I’m like you.
And I wonder what little things the girls will pick up from me. The way they brush their teeth? Tie their shoes? Ride a bike? I hope I can continue to be a mostly good example to them. Like you were for me. I miss you, dad.