Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.
Pain worn as a gray
cloud, cloaks my golden body,
From a mom’s point of view, I think dads have it pretty good. First, they have wives. I need a wife. I bet I could get so much more done if I had a wife. Hwell, I would want a wife who cleans and cooks, not like the kind of wife I am who is so exhausted after a 40 hour paid work week and a half day of resupplying the pantry I’m lucky to get some laundry done. Second, the wife mostly takes care of the kids, not just the household chaos. Dad may contribute, may even be a fairly equal partner in homekeeping and child rearing, but these days the division of labor in most households is still muddy at best, and dads seem to have so much more time for their own pursuits. I admit I could have a jaded, skewed lens, but it’s mine; it’s why I muse.
I was lucky enough to know both my grandfathers. My mother’s dad was a farmer who managed orchards for other farm owners in Idaho. He came home to his own small farm with garden and chickens and cow and a wife who took care of it while he was gone. It was enough to feed his family of eight. I have the rusty old iron harrower he used to turn the soil in his little farm. There’s a blade behind the wheel to cut into the earth. A harrower is person-powered, no gasoline or horse power involved. Modern electronic spell checkers do not recognize the word harrower.
My father’s dad was a mailman when it was still politically correct to say mailman. He drove a rural route and came home to his own small family farm, with garden and chickens and cow and a wife who took care of it while he was gone. It was enough for their family of five. These are the kinds of mail trucks I imagine him driving around his farmland route in Idaho. The black and white photo is not grandpa, but the pose and the clothes and the car rather carry my notion and memory of him.
My dad was the first in his family to complete college. His older brother went to college but if memory serves he went into the service and married and didn’t finish college. Dad took his degree and became an accountant. He volunteered for police reserves and discovered he liked the work. He was a deputy sheriff most of my growing up years. He came home to a small suburban garden. We didn’t have chickens or a cow. He did have a wife who took care of it all while he was gone even after mom started working part-time after her youngest baby started first grade. And the garden fed his family of six. But times for home production of food were changing and now you could have home delivery of dairy products and eggs, or buy them at the store along with meat and various canned and pre-packaged goods.
Now. Here’s where it gets a bit tricky. Every one of my elders worked hard. Male and female. Every one. I love being able to say the work ethic I learned came from a legacy of people close to the earth who also mastered working in the “civilized” capitalist world as well. Who is to say which one worked harder? Which had the harder life, did the harder work, did the most work? Isn’t all work hard, whether it’s digging ditches or diapering babies, no matter who does it? And why does it seem a competition?
It’s all work. It’s called life. And it’s hard. But. There are so many moments of joy. You just have to know where to look. I love watching men do “men” type work (yes, I think that’s called blatant sexism). Men doing construction work, painting houses, washing their cars, working in their yards, sweating, especially if they have bothered to take their shirts off. My, my, mm. And I love watching men hold their babies, so gentle, so in love, especially if they have bothered to take their shirts off to go skin on skin with their infants. Oooh, ahhh, mm. I love watching men teaching their children, spending time talking and sharing stories, growing together. Yes, yes, mm. Men are fascinating, just because they are so different. And I’ve know many different kinds of men.
My dad was a shy, but opinionated man. His brother-in-law, my mom’s brother, one of my favorite uncles (all right, they were all my favorites, in their own way; they were each so special) was gay, and though he married and had children, blood will out, and his wife left him. Dad, of course, had his opinions, but for the sake of peace in the family I don’t remember hearing anything negative about it when I was little. Or maybe I was just too young to understand what was said about it. Dad at least had the dignity to deal, and not with any hate that I remember. As different as they were these two men helped raise each other’s children and I loved them both.
Dad’s hobby was leather-working, but he loved fishing and hunting and his garden. He planted and harvested, while Mom preserved the extra produce. Dad didn’t cook much and when he cleaned it was outside cleaning, not dishes or dusting, but taking care of the house and the cars. But once a week Dad cooked up a pot of beans. The beans might have any kind of meat in it from hamburger to pork bits, but the beans were always cooked to a smooth toothful doneness, a lovely soft texture with no crunch. (Yes, I admit I have not mastered cooking beans.) Dad’s beans were always full of flavor, he must have used onion and celery and garlic like I do, but his tasted so good. Maybe because I didn’t have to cook it. Dad like his beans hot, I mean spicy jalapeno hot, and after we figured out what he made the beans so spicy with we would hide the peppers on Tuesday nights – Wednesday was bean day – and bring out the peppers and salsa and Tabasco after the beans were cooked so he could dose his own and not the whole pot. Dad finally figured out we’d eat more of his specialty if we could control our own spiciness. Man, I miss Dad’s beans.
Dad’s gone now, and my father-in-law, and both my grandfathers are gone as well. The dads I know now are a different generation: the hubster, father of my child; my brothers and brother-in-law, fathers of my nieces and nephews; and my nephews-in-law, fathers to my great-nieces and -nephew, different kinds of men than my grandfathers. Oh, and all the other fathers out there, all you special dads, scout dads, teacher dads, guys I graduated from high school and university with dads, cop dads, preacher dads, neighbor dads, working dads, stay-at-home dads, whatever dads. I love you because you are different and because you can work as hard as women if you really want to. Take your shirts off. Or not. Then hug your child and thank your child and the woman who gave birth to your child for making you a dad.
Color Watch – blooming attractions in my neighborhoods this week – few ventures this week because of health, but enjoyed this neon vibrant multicolored old fashioned pink/yellow rose; and this velvety red with raindrop nestled in the petals; and the bright green spear leaves and the brilliance of lemony day lilies.
Currently Reading – Man’s Search for Meaning (1946, psychology) by Viktor E. Frankl; The Kept (2014, fiction) by James Scott; The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, and The Science of Suffering (2010, science) by Melanie Thernstrom; How To Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass: A Critical Thinker’s Guide to Asking the Right Questions (2011, philosophy, logic). Yes, concurrently. Check out my From Me 2 U Book Review page.
This week I have been grateful for:
- My grandfathers.
- My father.
- My uncles, fathers of my cousins.
- The hubster, father of my child.
- My brothers, good fathers to my nieces and nephews.
- My brother-in-law, chosen by my sweet sister and loved as sweetly, father of two beautiful nephews.
- My cousins, fathers of the next generations of cousins.
- My nephews-in-law, chosen by my lovely nieces and loved as sweetly, fathers to another generation. So grateful to count them as family and friends.
- An all out full tilt boogie tropical style rain storm of about an hour in the middle of an average late spring day that refreshed the air and knocked down the dust and pollen.
- Enjoying pain-free moments and minutes and hours and days after a not-fun-at-all infection.
- Fresh air through open doors and windows.
- Borrowing movies from my local lending library so I can watch them at my leisure in the comfort of my own home.
- Summer reading. So much good new fiction.
Hoping you have a lovely week.
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.
Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch