Ever heard people comment on how girls are likely to marry a man like their father?
It’s used to reason why fathers should be involved in their daughters lives. Because how else will she know the way she should be treated by a man? And all other good sentiments that go with it. Daughters was a massive hit for John Mayer because it struck a cord for everyone; those who grew up with loving dads, those who grew up with vanishing ones and the dads themselves.
With me, I cannot find distinct similarities between Burs and my dad. Not similarities relating to me anyway; they are both kind, gentle men who love their daughters unconditionally. But in the day-to-day my dad worked a regular job, while Burs owns his own business. His hours are random. Growing up my dad wasn’t one for friends. He’d rather hang out at home. Not that Burs is out all hours of the night but he has a large collection of mates – most of the people he’s done business with – that he can go to a pub and chat with. Oh, and my dad never drank. Ever! Well, except for that one time at my sister’s sweet sixteen where he stayed in his robe the whole next day. Which was incredibly strange since my dad is a morning person; up and bushy tailed at the crack of dawn! Six in the morning was a lie-in. Where as Burs and I can sleep straight through the morning and into the afternoon (and once to the stroke of the evening too but that was jetlag’s fault).
So, you can understand my surprise when while sitting at the table checking over lil Burs homework, I began to get visions of my father. Actually not visions – flashbacks! Horrible, horrible flashbacks. I’ve finally found something that they are similar in.
That patient man who raised me had one flaw – his inability to teach or tutor. Because if you did not understand something he had gone over for the last five minutes – heaven help you. To this day I still cannot do fractions thanks to an ordeal that happened one night while I was in elementary school. Then, I decided that math was to blame for my father standing over me yelling like I had just pushed an old lady down while running away from the liquor store I’d just robbed. The statement ‘I just don’t understand’ after he’d gone over it wasn’t acceptable. And by the fourth explanation…heaven help me.
I know, I wasn’t alone with dads like this. And since then many of my friends and I have rationalized it to the fact that they had worked all day at a thankless job. And after being on a train for a nearly two hour commute, the last thing you wanted to deal with is your mathphobic daughter. Who knew the lyrics to every George Michael song but couldn’t remember why a common denominator was necessary.
In my present household it isn’t math (or maths as they call it) that is troubling. Lil Burs excels at math. Even got asked to be a part of some special math group who got a day of using their math skills with architecture. Her crutch is english; spelling, punctuation, sentence structure. Something which comes easy to her dad and I, is a massive crutch for her.
And this is where Burs morphed into my dad.
Lil Burs had done her homework. Which I then asked to see. Pulling out two assignments; she handed one to me and the other to her father. I read the one she’d given me, picked up a pencil and circled misspelled words. Also marked bad sentence structure and told her to get the dictionary to work it all out. Did that sound come, cool, collected? I hope so, because it was. I can’t really describe Burs in this because he started off cool but then with every question she asked, it was as if a vice was being cranked in his back. With each turn of said vice – the sweet kind Burs, I know and love – evolved into my screaming father. And I suddenly felt eleven again; quivering in my seat wondering why what he is saying sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher is talking to me. Yet, it wasn’t even directed at me.
I had complete sympathy for lil Burs. Not because I think any of this is difficult. It isn’t! Seriously it’s about words. All those words are spelled correctly in this one big book. That book also shows you how to change the words when they need to be plural or abbreviated. Nothing can be easier. But it doesn’t get any easier when your dad stands above you trying to force you to understand it.
Mind you, it isn’t only to her. The other day Burs had to show me something to do with the computer – which is his foray. On his third go round of explaining, his voice began to rise. I looked him square in the eye and said ‘calm down dad!’ The power of sarcasm put us back on a level field. And now I’ve my go to statement whenever I see that fiery growing in his eyes. Sadly, it will take lil Burs far longer to figure out how to handle her screaming dad. At least she’ll have something to complain about when she grows-up.