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.