Thursday, June 16, 2016

My Father didn't play with...


For Sid, being a Dad meant being a good provider. He brought home the brisket (can't say bacon. Our kitchen was strictly kosher). We were raised with Old World family values. This makes sense since my parents were escapees from Hitler's insane concept of human genetics. (That is why I flinch when a Presidential candidate proposes "round ups" based on ethnicity.) 

In the Sambur household parenting tasks were strictly divided and adhered to.

Clara was in charge of nurturing, hugs, feeding us (too much) and making sure we wore our galoshes on rainy days. In Mom's eyes, her three children were God's perfect creations.. Mommy's love of her "boychicks" (little boys) was boundless. We could do no wrong. I think she  often overlooked our transgressions in a Jewish Motherly way.

Dad provided the reality check. Sid's approach to parenting was laissez faire. He believed in hands on intervention only if we strayed away from the concept of being a "mensch." (From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: a person of integrity and honor.)

Punishment came in two forms. We would hear about our screw ups forever, despite our many hang-our-heads-down apologies. When I became an adult, I still found myself muttering "I'm sorry" to him for a bad deed done decades ago.. It's true, Jewish guilt is the gift that keeps on giving. 

The other form was physical, but never brutal. If we were given the choice, we would have chosen physical over emotional. At least, the slap was over and done with in a second. 

Sid still loved us, just sort of in a different way. 

I'm pretty sure I became a mensch too.

Now I'll get to the point:

I've  never been a father (at least, not that I'm aware of) but I've been around a lot of children. Instinctively, I follow Sid's example and tend to shy away from these miniature humans. Sure, I'll smile at them, wave and say hello, but I'd rather be somewhere else. Being around kids never felt natural to me. 

Well, that changed with Little Dylan. She stole my heart. I think it's her smile that's so reminiscent of Clara's. OK. She giggles a lot too. 

I think Sid would've been taken by her too. He might have even played with her. 

Happy Father's Day! Sid! 
I love you. Thanks for instilling me with sensible values.

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