I thought it would be an interesting exercise to ask my grown children, now in their 20s, what they would have me say about their father, the Carpenter, for a Father’s Day column.
That one question resulted in responses that highlighted his influence on our offspring.
Our son’s response: “It’s too early to discuss this. I am going to need more coffee.” It was 8:15am.
Known to be a young man of few words, his sardonic response was classic. It’s exactly what his father would have said about any question I asked in the morning before he ingested a pot of coffee solo. My two men of few words.
It’s the same response that says, “not right now,” but also assures me my son’s going to think about it, because it requires a thoughtful response. It will be sarcastic, sincere and probably not printable here, but it will be worth the wait, nonetheless.
Our daughter’s first remark was, “well, he stinks.” She was blunt with her delivery, which is her nature, but her comedic timing was priceless. A true Daddy’s Girl, her relationship with her father centres on a daily banter of teasing and healthy insults to test their resolve. You know how a Dad can say stuff that sounds mean, but he does it with a smile and a sparkle in his eye that tells you that you are safe, adored and his proudest achievement? Yeah, that.
“Also, he cannot sing, but he sings loudly and off key every single day when he walks in the door and usually has the words wrong, so it’s awful but kind of funny,” our daughter added.
She’s right. The Carpenter makes a grand entrance when he arrives home from work after his two-hour commute from Toronto. He stomps in the door like Sasquatch in his dirty, sweaty fluorescent construction clothes, covered in concrete dust, belting out the last rock song he heard playing on the truck’s radio.
Then he yells for all to hear (and I do mean the neighbourhood at large) that he has arrived, as if he’d been away for a year on an expedition to the north. It’s ridiculous. It’s loud. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
We know that when the Carpenter gets home to us, no matter what the day brought him, home is where his heart is. Even though there is a never-ending to-do list of chores, and dinner is never ready, he is happy to get home to the chaos that is our life.
He wanted to be a family man and has committed every day to putting us first. My kids know that, even if they don’t say it. Even if he doesn’t say it. Actions speak louder than words. They know.
As a concrete form worker, it is fair to say the Carpenter has formed a foundation for our family built on security and love. There is honour in his values, his work ethic and his ridiculous humour, but also in the way he respects the mother of his children. We parent differently, but we are very much a team. It’s a beautiful thing.
Thanks to my father for being the example of what a good man is, so I knew what to look for.
And to all the fathers who are the foundation for their children, whatever their family status or situation, I wish you a Happy Father’s Day.