Thursday, December 23, 2010

How did he do that?!?

When I was a teenager, I did not think my parents knew anything.  There was no possible way they knew the problems I was facing growing up.  How could they?  They were old and not in high school trying to fit in, falling in and out of love with girls, fighting for popularity but trying to seem indifferent, trying to figure out what to do on the weekend, worrying if that one special girl liked me, or if they would score the winning goal in the tournament against Lincoln High (which, I did, by the way...but that story is for another time).  No, they had no idea what I was going through.
Dad, I don't need your advice about how I look and getting through customs!

When I turned twenty (or thereabouts), I started to see that my parents actually did know a thing or two.  Not everything, of course, but some of time, they got it right.  Thirty, yeah, they were pretty smart and they knew a lot more than I gave them credit for.  At thirty, I also began to realize that I knew things that teenagers did not know.  I also realized, later into my thirties, that what I thought was significant in my twenties was really not that important.  When I missed that New Year's party because I was sick and missed seeing that girl, who's name escapes me, it really wasn't going to be the end of the world, even though I thought then that it went on, and now I barely remember why I wanted to see her in the first place.

I was learning that I will never stop learning.  Life's lessons would never stop, and that was okay.  What scares me now, at nearly forty, is that I think I have a pretty good grasp on things, but I am aware that I still have a lot more to learn.  Of course, I wonder, now more than ever, how much information my parents have at their young age and what they can still teach me.  And I wonder what it is that I think I know now will turn out to be quite insignificant in another ten years.

The part that scares me the most is, I see what my nine year-old son considers significant moments in his life.  He is petrified that he will have the "worst Christmas ever" because he isn't going to get a Corinthian battle helmet.  According to him, all he is going to get is a thousand Star Wars figures and nothing else.  Boy, life is rough for the little guy, huh?  He is confused about Santa, worried about being teased because he is wearing a "puffy" jacket (its actually a pretty nice ski jacket, but you can't tell him that...he thinks parents don't know anything), and concerned that we do not care about him because we "force" him to eat his veggies at dinner.

So, it makes me chuckle inside when these world-ending events are expressed through his words and frustrations, knowing that I cannot say anything to him that will make him think we actually know a thing or, we have about another 12 years before that happens.  But, back to the part that scares me the most...what is it that I think I know now and that is cause for deep concern on my part, that my parents are secretly chuckling about in their motor-home, as they enjoy retirement in warm and sunny Arizona?  What do my parents know that I have yet to figure out?  One hint of the power of experience and knowledge came to fruition just today...

On occasion, my dad will send me e-mails with a link to some funny website, or some neat thing someone has done somewhere in the world.  Usually the link is related to something I like; for example, one recent link was about a model railroad set-up in Germany that was so grand the people who built it charge admission just for anyone interested in taking a gander at the miniature world.  Based on the link, I would consider buying a plane ticket to Germany just to have the chance at seeing this amazing model.  Another link may be of a Ferrari on a race track, or a photo contest in North Carolina where I might have a chance at winning a prize.  Whatever the link, historically, it has always had some significance and was, 99.9% of the time, of some interest to me.  But his last e-mail with a link embedded in it, left me feeling baffled.  I had no idea why he sent it to me...until today.

My dad's last e-mail (received yesterday), was a link to a Jacques Pepin video on how to make an omelet.  I cannot recall ever expressing a desire to learn how to create the perfect omelet, at least not within my dad's listening space.  As I was watching this strange video, I kept waiting to see something pop up on the screen and scare me half to death (my dad is a great prankster), or wondering when the pretty French lady was going to enter the screen, but neither happened.  No, this video was exactly what it said it was; "This is how you should cook an omelet."  Plain and simple.  Confused, I closed the window and went on about my day, not once thinking about the link, until today.

Here is where it gets this power he has something I get to look forward to?  Can he see the future?

Yesterday ended without a lot of exciting events and my dad's e-mail was sitting in my brain's recycling bin, waiting to be dumped out with the rest of the useless junk that is stored in there.  Fortunately, much like my computer, I forget to hit the empty button and clean out the trivial items in my noggin.  This morning, I awoke to my son knocking on my bedroom door.  His simple question, "Dad, will you help me make breakfast?"  Sure, I said as I somehow managed to muster the strength to roll out of bed...literally, roll out.

Once I found my socks, and shirt, my next task was to find my glasses so that I could see where I was going.  The glasses did not help much, since my brain was still foggy from the deep sleep I was enjoying so much.  But, I managed to make it downstairs to see a few ingredients and a cookbook on the island in the kitchen.  Leaning over the book was my son.  Apparently, he is enjoying this cooking thing, I thought silently. That thought was immediately followed with, oh geez, what is he trying to make...and will I have to eat it?

"Dad, will you help me make an omelet?"

My mouth twisted in a bewildered manner, my eyes widened with a mystified gaze, and my eyebrow rose with bemusement.  I couldn't repeat the expression if I tried...not even for a million bucks.  Did he just ask me if I would help him make an omelet?

How did he do that?  How did my dad know that I would need to know how to make an omelet the next day?  What told him to send me a link that I would have little interest in, only to find out that I really needed that enlightenment?  At that moment, I wished that I could have looked at my dad, thanked him, hugged him, and forced him to sit down with me and teach me everything that he knows...and, also, partake in the upcoming omelet.  Like my son, however, I have to learn these things on my time...through life's little lessons and experiences, but how cool will this ride be!  Yippee!  I'm going to be able to tell the future, just like Dad!

So, Dad, if you are reading this, thank you.  Not only for sending me the perfect link, just when I needed it most, but for everything you have done for me and for everything you have not done for me.  I can now appreciate what you have gone through - making choices of when to teach, when to back off and let me fall, when to pick me up and carry me, and when to stand tall and say he's my boy (hopefully once or twice I made you feel proud!).  If I am half the dad to G that you are to me, my boy has a pretty good chance.  And, thank you very much for the very tasty omelet this was perfect. 

How to make an omelet - Click HERE

A very cool train set - Click HERE

I never thought I'd say this, but, thank you BOTH for teaching me how to cook!
Thanks for ALL of the awesome Christmases!


  1. Larry, what an awesome blog. You really do have a way with words and I think this is your calling. I had to read the blog in segments since I was laughing so hard. Thanks a million for a great laugh. Wish we were back there with you guys celebrating Christmas but I know you all will have a great time. Super!

    Merry Christmas


  2. Thanks, Dad. We wish you were here, too. Glad I could give you a laugh or two!