Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Word on Dad(s)

I couldn't let Father's Day pass without a word about my dad and my husband, a new dad. Naturally, I'm not keen on posting family pics-- too personal, you see, and I believe in protecting the privacy of my family, who didn't sign up for this whole blog thing. But of course, I have a million pictures of them. Snap happy daughter slash wife slash mama, you see. Don't even get me started on how many pictures I have of my son. One of my friends slash coworkers tells me I should not be surprised should Oliver start calling the camera 'mama'.

My dad is a scintillating talker. He's sharp and witty and the poop disturber of the party. Dad has pulled a lot of pranks in his day, and I'm sure there are things he's done that he hasn't fessed to we his family. Dad's also the epitome of manager and it's that sharp tongue that lays down the law; don't even try arguing with him. His style of debating just ain't for you. Something I'd forgotten about my dad was just how much he loves kids and playing around-- forgotten until I saw how much joy Oliver brought him, and all that kid can do right now is drool. It makes me think of how much fun Dad must have had with my sister and I when we were little. I think we got big too fast for him. I remember when I was a teenager, a pair of brothers in the neighbourhood would hang about the garage just to talk to Dad. He got such a kick out of showing them how to use the lawnmower or talk about whatever project he had on the go. Once, he even offered to bring them to the hardware store. He loves teasing the kids at the camp he and my mom stay at. When we were kids, my dad used to leave post-it notes with messages scrawled on them when he went on business trips.  When I first started university and began to doubt whether my major would make my parents proud, it was an e mail from my dad that encouraged me to go for it. When I made stupid decisions, it was my dad who crumpled up the 'debts' for all the favours (and dollars) I owed and let me start fresh.  I don't remember word-for-word the speech my dad made at my wedding, but I do remember being touched by it. Yep, my dad has always believed in me. We may not agree on everything, but he's a big fan. So am I.

My husband is a brand spanking new dad. I'm sure this terrifies him on some level, but he's so good at it-- being a dad, that is, not being terrified. His special time is giving our wee pooper  prince his nightly bath. Oliver loves it so much we only have to say the word "shampoo" and the kid breaks out in giggles. New Dad lets New Mom sleep in on weekends so she can preserve and conserve her sanity for the week. We don't have a whole lot of family memories as of yet (some), but I am sure this is a byproduct of sleep deprivation-- not that sleeplessness has prevented us from making memories, but from remembering them at all. This is why I take so many countless pictures of my son, so that we can look upon them and encourage memories to the surface. Or make some up.Whatever works.

Photograph your family, people. You don't have to be good at it. They don't have to be genius, but they will be your memories. Pictures can indeed jog a fuzzy mind. My mother used to write information on the back of pictures, back when people actually developed their pictures... or better yet, make your own photo book. Most drug stores have a photo lab. You can type your memories right in the photo book. And remember, crop the images so you don't have stupid stuff in the background and just zoom in on the faces, the actions, the smiles, the eyes. You don't need all that extra lawn or your messy living room in the shot, just focus in on the people. That's what the crop feature in Photoshop is for! Slap them on a wall in a jumble of eclectic and random frames. That's what the staircase wall is for: a collage of all the faces you love. It was the best wall in my family's house, that family photo wall, and I can promise you that for all the art and fine photography you frame and hang, your family wall will become your favourite, too. Seriously. You'll find yourself staring at it on your way up or downstairs, arms full of laundry or homework or a cup of tea before bed, and looking at those faces and remembering.

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