3

Father’s Day 2011

According to American retailers, dads don’t do much but play with power tools, do yard work, golf and wear socks.

If I believe the magazine and newspaper stories I’ve read this past week, dads don’t know how to relate to the children they brought into this world:

“How to Bond on Daddy’s Day!”  (You have to be taught?)

“What Kids Need From Fathers Now.” (A man with a backbone.)

After tossing the Sunday ads into the recycling bin, I went outside to wage war on the sudden influx of Japanese Beetles who deemed my roses their meal ticket. As I knocked beetles to their death in a bucket of soapy water, I pondered on how my family lives in a polar opposite world from that portrayed in those Father’s Day ads.

When I married Scott, my “dowry” consisted not of a cedar trunk containing family linens and Grandma’s china, but a clunker car trunk containing a socket wrench set, flashlight and tool box.

My husband came into the marriage with a shiny sports car, cat and impressive ironing skills but complete lack of experience in the Mr. Fix It department.  In his childhood home, repairmen were called when anything broke or needing replacing.  In my childhood home, a broken appliance or light fixture in need of rewiring was an occasion for daddy-daughter bonding.  Often all four of us kids were called down to the basement for our latest shop lesson: “Red to red, black to black…good! Now who can show me the ground wire?”

The combination of newlywed low funds and fear of looking inept in front of his father-in law, forced my husband into the world of Do-It-Your-Selfers.  And this was before we owned a home computer let alone the existence of Google!

Over the past 24 years, he’s learned to fix and install water heaters, dishwashers, wallboard, ceiling fans, phone lines, windows, lighting fixtures and sprinkler systems. But more importantly, he learned to change diapers, bathe babies, mix formula by the blender-full, pack lunches, help with homework, keep Mommy happy and bite his tongue over the cost of a prom dress, laptop or vet bill.

Along the way, whether he was working with a hammer or new recipe, he made sure, as my father did, the kids learned alongside him.

(Well, maybe not the tongue biting part—I mean, come on– he’s an incredible dad but not a miracle worker.)

Happy Father’s Day!


Karen Rinehart's columns appear Sundays in the Independent Tribune. Her website is KarenJRinehart.com.


  • Claire Boeck

    I always know I’m in for a treat when there’s a Karen Rinehart piece with parentheses on the side!

  • hee! 😉

  • goral

    “But more importantly, he learned to change diapers,…” ??
    Water heaters and dishwashers are less important when there are disposable diapers and plates.

    A toolbelt on the waist, a diaper bag on the shoulder
    and a listening and talking device on the head.
    Add a wide screen with a sixpack and you have the American male.