on Purses, Daisies and Apollo

I have a penchant for naming things. When the Wife met me I had two plants, Ferdinandt and Apollo. Ferdinandt died, may he decay in peace, but Apollo endures. He’s a small succulent that’s lived in his own little cup for more years than I care to count.

The kids have inherited the same habit of personifying random items in their lives. Tomorrow morning I know that Youngest (4) will be on the verge of waterworks when we can’t find Buddy the bug in his small pot plant on her windowsill. It’s debatable whether this will coincide with the frantic runaround searching for Percy the purse (home to her tuckshop change), or with the daily pep-talk on why Uni the unicorn can’t attend classes with her.

If you’re wondering about Buddy, he (assuming its gender) is a small ovoid black insect that Youngest today found, named, and emotional bonded with before I could intervene. Logical arguments of how Buddy would be happier among the plants fell on deaf ears, while she cradled and cooed her new pet in her hand. A compromise was reached with the pot plant, however I suspect Buddy may already have made his bid for freedom, unbeknownst to Youngest.

Eldest, being eight, adds a little more imagination to her naming process but her one goal has always been to name something of import “Daisy”. I don’t know why, but she’s been fascinated with the name since she’s been able to talk.  It’s almost been a theme to her communicative history over the years: “Mommy can I name the new kitten Daisy?”

“No.”

“May I please name our car Daisy?”

“No.”

“Dad, can I name our new plant?”

“Are you going to name it Daisy?”

“Maybe.”

“Then no.”

“”But why-y-y-y-y?”

“It’s not a daisy. You’ll give it an identity crises.”

“May I PLEEEEEEASE name our next pet Daisy?”

“Yes.”

“Really?”

“No.”

One day we’ll name something Daisy. But not yet. It’s too funny not letting her do it. She does however have a plethora of items granted their own alias, and a passer-by might think we’ve gruesomely murdered a pet when overhearing how Mr. Joe was found only after going through a full cycle in the washing machine.

This little habit of naming things makes life more fun for us. It constitutes a small part of a larger family culture, and therein lies the reason for my post this evening: What is a dad?

Other than being responsible for his family’s safety and security, it’s the small things that shape and steer the culture you develop for your family. Yes, it’s silly. Yes, it’s insignificant compared to the bigger issues. But it teaches my children how to have a little fun in one tiny aspect of their lives. Add many, many other similar such practices and you are building personalities that will ultimately shape their future. It’s not what you do for them now that decides their fate, but how you prepare them.

So what is a dad? It’s someone that’s silly, because heaven knows we need some silliness in the world. More than you care to believe or admit.