Saturday, August 05, 2006

Today I reached a significant milestone in my relationship with Dad.

As many of you know, Dad and I have an intense and difficult relationship. We love each other to pieces (although we got on better when I lived 300k away rather than 300m) and we argue like you wouldn't believe. We are very simliar, but he's had 25 extra years to become a stubborn, "I'm know best and want it my way - NOW" control freak. And he's male.

Of the many things that truly irritate me about Dad, is his inability to take most of what I do seriously, particularly if it's a "boy" activity.

Knitting is different because that's women's work and it just happens anyway. Women's work is, of course, much less important than men's work and must be really easy if Mum and I can do it. This is amply demonstrated by the many occasions on which he has given away a jumper or cardie knitted for him by my mother. My mother is an aran knitting genius and all of Dad's jumpers and cardies are works of art. He does not understand her less than enthusiastic appreciation of his cavalier disposal of her works of love.

Dad is not mechanically gifted. When I was a child my mother, who has an amazing mechanical intelligence, took evening classes in woodwork. She made me a piano stool, my brother a toy box and herself a hall table with exquisitely turned Queen Anne legs. For Dad she made a timber brief case and a dart board case that he'd always wanted. Not only did the dart board case never get wall mounted, he sold it for $2 at a garage sale and Mum gave up woodwork.

He openly mocked my enrolment in woodwork classes. However, before he knew exactly what it was and that I'd made it, he exclaimed over the beauty of the Adam swift. Since then he has tried to deny this, but I know that he remembers.

Dad recently had to remove an old organ from his Lodge. The new organ didn't fit into the timber organ case. Because he can't dispose of anything that may be of use to someone (I told you we were alike) he saved the timber and offered it to his brother-in-law. Uncle Max has not responded to the offer in anyway and this morning Dad said, without prompting or even me looking sideways at the timber, that if I'm doing this woodworking stuff, perhaps I would like it.

So there you have it. My father has made a significant step in his personal growth and our relationship by acknowledging, in his own special way, that I can do something he can't and by supporting me.

This is a good thing, right?

Before you answer, let me remind you that this now means I have a timber stash.


ferg said...

Worth adding a room on to house the timber stash, I'd say. Hope the old stuff is good stuff and you get a lot of pleasure out of making something for your Dad out of it. Make it small and not too much effort though....just in case.
Cheers Gillian

Bells said...

More than one kind of stash? What a marvellous idea!!! YOu must be happy Taph!

I get the parental thing. I really get it. Enough said.

Dood said...

Look at you - Taph, Queen of the Stash!

I was just lamenting my "lack-o-stash", but now that you have two stashes, I can live vicariously through you!

Our fathers sound similar (or maybe it's just a dad thing in general?) so I totally get it - I must admit I did get a bit goosebumpy when I read about the breakthrough.

happyspider said...

ugh parents. yes. well done. i'm sure i will one day train my dad to say 'excuse me' 'please' and 'thankyou' /pipe dreams

Jejune said...

Well done, Taph - I know how incredibly difficult he is (with my insane father-in-law only a smidgen behind him in the Utterly Impossible Relatives list), and it's good to hear that he's acknowledged you even in this small way - it is a big deal, I know.

And as for wood stash - you aren't making things easy for yourself, you know! Wood isn't that squishable ;) Speaking of wood, we're de-cluttering under the house (more like wholesale disposal) and have a fair bit of wood which I'm happy to send your way. Bits and pieces though, you might want to cast your eye over it first.

The Shopping Sherpa said...

Yay! Someone else with a wood stash! (And no, that's not a typo "D")

The Shopping Sherpa said...

Oh - forgot to add - let me know if you need to borrow a scroll saw....

Kate said...

Maybe it's the double -yew, double-o combo that makes it a stash. You know, 'wOOl' or 'wOOd'. I'm sure that there's people out there with a swOOn addiction and have all the CDs.
Congrats on the breakthrough, although I still feel v. sorry for your mum who has had how many years of marriage without the breakthrough? It reminds me of Mum and Dad and I on one of our interminable drives between Adelaide and Melbourne. Mum doesn't get to do a stint, just me and Dad and only after I turned 30. Go figure. I asked mum if she minded and she said as long as she got the front seat, she was cool with it. Hmm.