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Jan 14 2014

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Modern Dad

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Subtitle:  Betsy Freakin’ Ross!

I love being the modern Dad.  I use Dad in capital letters because it’s a title, a name, a calling.  It’s the job I can’t quit, because I can’t afford to fail.  I love it.

I think it’s super important to be an active part of my kids’ lives, and that means taking an interest and an excited role in whatever makes them happy.   This spring, I’ll become an archer with Gabe.  I’ve already spent hours honing my chess skills against the crafty 8 year old.  Jake and I walk the dogs and play video games.

Today, I got to be a seamstress with Liv.  She got a sewing machine for Christmas.  She sees this as the first step on the long journey that ends with her being her generation’s Vera Wang.

Problem is, nobody in this house knows how to sew.  I muddled through in Home Ec. circa 1991, but that was a long time ago.  I read the manual (yes, I actually did).  I studied the handy, “quick reference” 11 x 14 schematic for easy remembering how to wind a bobbin and thread a needle.  I’m sure there are easier to use references used in nuclear engineering.  I even watched a dozen or more Youtube videos for tips and tricks.

In the end, we sent her and her Singer Simple over to cousin Karen’s house.  Karen’s the family expert.  She rocks, and Liv came home with a good start on a baby shower gift she wants to give someone special (who I hope isn’t reading this).

The best part?

Tonight, there are still lots of things to be cut, pinned, and stitched.  I got to help!

I had the most fun sitting at the machine, getting the full tutorial from Liv.  I love giving her the opportunity to be the “expert” in something we do.

Much in the same way I just can’t bowl without the Bee Gees, I think I’m going to need Motown to sew. I was stitching along, watching my threads and trying not to lose my pins, jamming along to the Supremes and young Stevie Wonder on Pandora.

Beth was off at church, getting ramped up for her annual Easter Drama, Gabe was watching cartoons in the living room, and Jake was playing (you guessed it) Bad Piggies on the iPad. It was one of those relatively rare moments when I was able to give one of the kids my undivided attention.

I’ve read a lot lately about the feminization of our men; the breakdown in gender norms and expectations. I certainly don’t remember any of the other guys’ Dads sewing with their little girls.

If this is a bad trend, then I guess I’m bad.

I do know, and hold stock in, the idea that my daughter’s relationship with me will shape her relationship with other men. She’ll likely, however subconsciously, marry a man like her Dad. I want to make sure that man respects her, listens to her, values her opinion and involves himself in her interests. I know that the stronger a bond between daughter and Dad, the less chance of teen pregnancy, drug use, eating disorders, and suicide.

Plus, I made a burp cloth!

modern 1

Straightening out our patterns, and pinning our edges.

modern 2

This represents me, looking over the master’s shoulder, learning to take the pins out before the needle runs them over and ruins everything!

modern 3

It was a lot of work for something some kid is just going to puke on, but it was fun!

 

About the author

BigCalfGuy

BigCalfGuy

I am a 39 year old, married, father of three amazing children; one of whom has autism. I fancy myself as more Atticus Finch than Holden Caulfield. Dynamite with a laser beam.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bigcalfguy.com/modern-dad/

6 comments

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  1. Wanda Bourgeois

    great job Dad

  2. velma Rudge

    Ryan you are the kind of dad every child dreams of. Your Liv is. A very lucky girl to have such a special dad like you

  3. Linda

    Super cute blog. Well done Dad!

  4. Heidi Dickey

    Very cute…I think I might know that special someone and my lips are sealed! Very nice Liv…..oh and Dad too!

  5. Cousin Karen

    LOL, Don’t forget to tell everyone it’s all jammed up now!

    1. BigCalfGuy
      BigCalfGuy

      I told you to keep your mouth shut! I fixed it. I re-filled the bobbin and re-threaded the needle, just like the diagram told me. Sure it took six tries to get it right, but we overcame!

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