The word “In–Law’s” probably elicits some type of emotional response. In tv, movies and such the in-laws are always these annoying people who you have to “deal” with once in a while. I’m sure in real life for most, in-laws are great. Or, if they are not, maybe you live far enough away that the one time a year you see them isn’t that bad.
My family lives in the same town as my in-laws. My wife is extremely close to her mom. They talk every day, they used to until very recently work together also. My Mother in law put her career on hold to help raise our kids. She was the babysitter, chauffeur, personal shopper, and bank for us and my kids growing up. I’d never be able to put into words how much she means to my family, but someday I’m sure I will try.
For this though, I wanted to talk about my Father in Law, or Mr.Fix it. When I told my oldest I was going to write about him she wanted me to call the story, Bob the Builder, but since his name is Lance I figured that might get confusing.
To start, he is a wine making, book loving, and guitar playing, computer programmer. He literally can do everything. Basically, he is the Most Interesting Man in the World, like the guy from the Dos Equis beer commercials.
When my kids need anything fixed that isn’t their emotions, they skip over Mom and Dad and go right to Papa.
I wanted to make sure I got the point across about all the things he has done for me over the years so I started to write down a few on paper and I quickly ran out of room. He truly is Mr. Fix It. I can’t hang a picture on a wall, so literally anything involving a nail or an electrical outlet or a plumbing pipe, he is the first call I make.
And, he doesn’t do any of these things for a living. He works in computers. Just a small sample of some of the home items he has done for us, built a deck, hung shades, made a headboard for my bed, made a kitchen table and bench, installed a garbage disposal, hung shutters, painted the inside and outside of my house, hanged TVs on walls, and installed lights. My house would have already been condemned if it wasn’t for his very strong work ethic.
If you read my last story about the Sunday dinner, he made “the table” that my family will use for years and years and years. We will have so many memories from this table, and he MADE it. I can’t even draw a table, and he BUILT it. All that time and effort for a table that will last a lot longer than him or I will be around be enjoy it. It’s not the big costly gifts you get that mean the most. It’s always the ones with meaning. I work from home a lot now and I sit at the table with pride. It means way more to me than just a few pieces of wood and some screws. There probably a lot more to it, but that’s neither here nor there. I already told you I can’t even hang a picture on a wall.
Writing stories about woman is a lot easier for me, because they are not scared to show their emotions. Having a connection with your daughter or your wife or mom is easy because they TELL you exactly how they feel. You know where you stand. For men, or at least the men in my life, it is actions that prove your love. Because he can do everything himself, I don’t have the “I’ll help you sheet rock and replaster the walls in your house” that I can give to him. So, I do what I can do, I take care the best I can of his daughter and his granddaughters. I try to learn from him when he comes and fixes something at my house. I will try it next time, get to a certain point and then have to call him in to help. His immediate response is always “I’ll be right over”.
We drove together to my youngest daughters cheer competition in Ohio once. My family, including my wife, two daughters and I and my Mother and Father in law all piled into the minivan. My father in law is the “driver” in his family and I am that for mine. So, it was decided that he would drive first since he wanted to, and his vote counts more than mine for obvious reasons. He’s smarter, works harder, and is the leader of this tribe. So, about 6 hours or so he pulls over and says that I can drive now. So, we switch seats and he sits in the passenger seat and immediately is reminding me how to drive, the turn signals, which lane he thinks I should be in and so on. I see him hit the imaginary passenger side breaks a few times. I listen to what he says; I follow his words, even though I have been driving at this point for 20 years or so. We arrive safely in Ohio and the kids start complaining about how long of a ride it was. I wanted to scream at them about how all they had to do was sit there, but then I look over at the other driver, who never even bats an eye at these comments from the tired group of passengers and I learned another lesson from him. He doesn’t waste words on that stuff. He goes about his business, he cares for his family, he helps when he is asked. He is truly a leader of the tribe.
Everyone should be so lucky to have people in your life you aspire to be. Just so happens for me the guy I look up to happens to be 10 minutes down the road. I’ll never be close to the man he is, but really, nobody could be.
He is a man of few words, but is deserving of 10,000 of them.