I actually remember the first time I really understood that all dads were not like my dad. I had a friend in my college years who would tell me about her dad, and the more she told me the more incredulous I became. I never met her dad, and it’s probably a good thing, because from her description he seemed very inadequate to me, and I would have hated to hurt anyone’s feeling by betraying my opinion inadvertently.
Her dad, you see, was a scholar. That’s it. He didn’t fix things. He didn’t know a thing about cars. He couldn’t build anything or make anything or grow anything. He was all about the brain, and nothing else.
My dad, on the other hand, was and is a scholar also. He is an ordained minister, has a master’s degree in education and has held a succession of scholarly jobs. In my growing-up years, he also maintained a large vegetable garden, fixed anything that was wrong with the car or house, landscaped a succession of yards, hunted in the African bush to provide meat for our family, trained our dogs, played the piano, built things, and even butchered pigs and chickens. I thought this was normal. I thought that doing all these things was what it meant to be a man.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, then, that when I found myself attracted to someone, it was a practical man. My Esteemed Spouse has always been our primary mechanic, builder, plumber, gardener, landscape architect, and remodeler. When I met him, his practical side was the more visible one, but as I got to know him I realized that he, like my dad, is also a deep thinker. He went on to get a master’s degree in business administration, and is planning to take a beginning Chinese class just for fun this fall.
The great thing about being a “visionary” or idea person married to a practical man is that he can literally make my dreams come true. I can’t tell you how many times I have dreamed something up, something that would make my life easier in some way, and all I have to do is sketch it out and voilà! He can make it. More often than not, he can also suggest improvements to my original design. I can’t imagine being married to someone who can’t fix the sink, the car, the lights, the floor, or anything else. My dad set the bar pretty high, and now my husband is doing the same for the next generation.