When we were kids we knew our Dad was good for a couple of things: Treats, car rides, and trips to the cabin. In his words, he spent our childhood working and then fixing all the stuff we all broke every day. He’s not wrong.
He’s a really good Dad. A man of few words but a lot of opinions. Dry sense of humor, tells you the honest truth – like it or not, a really hard worker (sometimes it’s like geez Dad sit down and take a break) and funny, too.
As we began making more and more of The Henry for all the dudes out there coming up upon Father’s Day, it got me thinking about his reflections on fatherhood. So I asked. Here it is, verbatim.
Dad can I interview you?
No, I’m painting.
Come on, Dad! When can I do it?
Last night, like I said.
I got busy.
No seriously though.
Fine I’ll call you then.
TONIGHT ROLLED AROUND…
Who’s your favorite kid? Is it me?
Um, I cannot have favorites. You know that, Allyssa. And if I had one, sure, I suppose it would be you, but I can’t have favorites.
What’s your favorite thing about me? Just kidding. What’s your favorite thing about being a Dad?
Watching you kids grow and be successful. That’s the biggest thing. Being successful. Learning. Right from the get go, when you get into high school you change and go off on your own and I didn’t try to steer you onto a path, we just let you choose, and you all picked the right path and you’re happy, so.
What’s the hardest thing about being a Dad?
I think when I see you guys sad. I mean, I think that’s it. Not mad or anything. Just sad.
What do you miss the most about your own father?
Just being around him. I wish I would have asked him more questions about the war. When I was younger he would talk about it and I was, I don’t know, I just felt kind of bored. And now, after they’re gone, you want to talk to them and ask them questions. Like, all the details, where he served, stuff like that.
If Stacy was an accident, and I was born after her, what does that make me? Also, did you guys not know about birth control or seriously why do you have so many kids?
Oh God. Are you serious?
Yeah. I am.
We didn’t really think about it that much, how many kids. I’m glad we did have a lot though.
What was your biggest worry when we were kids?
That you’d stay safe. I think that was the biggest one. And that you guys wouldn’t marry some idiot.
What’s your biggest worry while we’re adults?
I’d say getting into a car accident. I worry about that. For your mother too.
But seriously, you do kind of like me the most, right?
No, I just cannot have a favorite. They’re all favorites.
If you had to write a book about parenthood what would it be called?
I used to say it’s the hardest job there is, so probably something like that. So, I don’t know, “Job One” or “Job Two.” Or “Parenting is Hard.”
Those are terrible, Dad. Hire someone to pick the title if you ever write a book. If I had to write a book about my childhood it would be called “Pop With Ice” because you always asked us to get you pop with ice. Got any thoughts about that?
(Laughed) It’s funny.
OK great. So. What do you think of Mom as a mother?
She’s an excellent mother. I mean, there’s just no other words about it.
Have you told her that?
What’s your hope for your kids?
They live long, they don’t fight, they see each other after we’re gone. A lot. Like you do now. You know, all those warm and fuzzy things.
What was your favorite age of us kids?
Probably adults when they’re having kids, watching them with their kids.
What advice would you give to a stressed out young parent?
Relax. It doesn’t last very long. That bad part you go through doesn’t last long but you wish you had it back sometimes.
And that’s our Dad.
Amy + Allyssa