Right or wrong

My Dad and My State of Timeliness

His clock or mine? June 18, 2023

There is one thing I don’t think my father and I will ever agree on… and that is timing.

For my father’s half hour early, I am a half hour “reasonable.” Right, Dad? 😉 

I am not late for things; I am only sure to use every minute as efficiently as possible before I must be somewhere.

I am not late for weddings, funerals, or any appointment.  But you can guarantee I will be right on time.  And my definition of on time is 1-5 minutes before the start time. That’s when I come skating in.

On the contrary, my father’s definition of on time is a half hour early.

Being an optimist is a challenge in this arena, and I am most certain that is what accounts for why I fail, by my father’s clock. 

The classic example is this.  Before the kids and I go to New Hampshire, there is always a long list of things that I want to have done before we go.  This ensures a good re-entry into our world here in Greenwich when we return, so we can hit the ground running.

But as a result, that one last thing that I need to do to finish my list and guarantee complete satisfaction when we head out the door usually means that I am going to overshoot the arrival time that I told my dad I was going to hit by an hour.

Where I fail is when I give my dad a ballpark of when I am planning to arrive, but it’s just that.  A ballpark.  It’s when I would like to arrive, but not realistic to arrive.  Because, as I stated, I am an optimist.  I always think I can get more done than I actually can within the given amount of time.

As a result of our timing issues, we had a wedding arrival debacle that my entire family went to in New Hampshire almost nine years ago.  I have to share this on Father’s Day because it was really funny—even though, at the time, no one was laughing.

As you can imagine, due to the discrepancy between my father’s time clock and mine, he was a bit concerned about when I would be arriving in NH, so our family could all go together to the wedding, which was another hour beyond where my parents live. Because of this, my father told me to be in New Hampshire 2 hours earlier than I had to be, unbeknownst to me.

On that morning, I was hustling! Sam had a t-ball game, and there was a bunch of stuff going on with Tyler and Jacob as well. The long and short of it, it was hard being me on that day, getting the kids where they needed to be for the weekend so that I could leave.  

I do understand why he told me to arrive so early.  As I have been learning, for my father, I don’t think there is anything more horrifying in his daily life than being late for something. My mother could probably attest to that.

And for me, I get undone when I feel like I waste time waiting around for something to begin because I have so much to do all of the time. 

On this particular day, I was on time, because it was for a wedding. And as I mentioned above, I am on time for weddings. So when I landed 2 hours early, which I learned once I got to my parents, I was not happy.

But, then, because everything was in motion, we as a family, proceeded to arrive 2 hours early to the wedding. At that point, my father was getting there, and we were all following him.

What does an entire family do when they arrive 2 hours early to a wedding? When all else fails, you find the local pub and get a round of cocktails for everyone–which actually works to cool tempers off from being annoyed at how early we were. I wasn’t the only one.

In the end, it wasn’t terrible, really, actually kind of fun once I got over all that I didn’t get done to arrive on time by my father’s clock. It illustrated just how opposite my father and I were on our timing.

I like to say that we are syncing up a bit better these days. I am trying very hard to be mindful of what I tell him the arrival time will be. “Really, I am, Dad.”

And I think he is trying to be a bit more loose when it comes to me and my time–he is getting really good at going with the flow. I only see an occasional eye roll. 🙂 Maybe now we are beginning to understand each other?

It’s been 48 years that we have been celebrating Father’s Day together. I feel so lucky to have the dad that I have. He has been with me through a lot, and I know that at the end of the day, my father will do whatever he can to keep me from being hurt.

He is great at property management, steady, predictable, and always on time. 🙂

Here’s to you, Dad, on Father’s Day. Thank you for being mine! I love you, and the dog does too!