The Father of My Children

19 06 2011

The father of my children has not, to my knowledge, spoken to either of his girls today.  He’s been outside, putting gates to the garden fence  that I suggested “we” build, and outside in the summer is not a place where he’s likely to bump into his girls.  He’s not the kind of father who revels in fatherhood.  As a matter of fact, when we found out we were having a girl, his comment was, “Oh, good.  That means I don’t have to bond.”  He really isn’t a kid kind of person, which is okay, because I have that part covered.  Yet his love and influence on his girls is undeniable.

It wasn’t long after we got married that I realized he wasn’t the sentimental type either.  Matter of fact, we were in the airplane heading out on our honeymoon when he remarked, “Boy, am I glad this marriage is over.”  Had he been sitting in front of me, I’d of kicked him.  Of course, he meant to say “wedding.”  Ceremonies make him nervous.   So do special occasions.  Our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple came and went without so much as a card.  It took a few days of hurt looks for him to catch on, which is why on the next available holiday, St. Patrick’s Day, I was presented with a brand-new Kitchen-Aide mixer.  He has improved with age; he doesn’t forget Valentine’s Day anymore.  Just last February he reminded me that it was my turn to give him the twenty-year-old box of chocolates that we’ve been passing back and forth every V-Day.  Most of the time, I’m the one picking out gifts for Christa and Annalise.  Yet his gifts, when he does give them, are much more memorable.

Last summer, Annalise totaled Christa’s car.  After determining that no one was hurt and the car was still drivable and structurally sound, he began the healing process for Christa (with her beautiful ruined car ) and Annalise (who as a new driver was ego-wounded) and the Toyota 4-Runner (a great car when viewed from the driver’s side; not so much from the passenger’s side).   After determining that it truly wasn’t cost-effective to take the car to be fixed at a body shop, Brian spent evenings scouring the Internet for parts, even spending a precious weekend day driving around the state with his father in search of junkyard parts.  For several weeks, he spend his evenings banging out bumper dents and applying putty to smooth it all back again.  Months later, with major help from his father, the 4-Runner was back on the road, in Christa’s hands and looking good.  In the process of fixing the 4-Runner, he had soothed the wounds within Christa and Annalise as well.

In awe, a boyfriend once asked one of the girls  how Mr. Eberhard knew how to fix cars so well.  “He just does,” was her answer.  I know better.  When we were first married, there was lots of gnashing of teeth and leaking of bad words in the garage as he taught himself how to fix what needed to be fixed.  Yet he didn’t give up and pay someone to do it for him.  He learned to use Google and Youtube to get information on anything he needed to know.  He asked his father.  He talked with friends and co-workers.  In the end, though, it was his determination and ingenuity that got the job done.  Another lesson, another gift.

Once the girls hit middle school, their Math and Science lessons were out of my league.  So on those nights that tears were imminent as homework became too frustrating, Brian, who had himself put in 10-12 hours of work already, pulled out the textbook, taught himself the skill, then worked with the girls.  As Golde said in Fiddler on the Roof, “If that’s not love, what is?”

At dinner tonight, Brian did have a chance to talk with the girls.  No, more like listen to the girls; he doesn’t do much talking.  Christa mentioned that she had not been able to find out what books she would need for her classes in the Fall.  Brian didn’t say much, but in the evening while the rest of us watched a movie, he was on the computer.  He not only found what books she needed, but ordered what he could online.

They say you marry your father.  I think I came pretty close.  My wish for our girls is that they are able to find someone like their father, someone who models love, caring, ingenuity, and determination as well as the myriad other traits that Brian has that make him a wonderful father, husband, friend, and man.

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3 responses

18 07 2011
Sharon Foret Cagle

Beth,
Your writing is awesome!

18 07 2011
eberteach

(Blushing). I write from my heart.

23 09 2011
Deborah McMurtrie

You described Brian beautifully in this piece. He is a good man.

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