Fixes and Kisses

My kids know better than to come to me with their broken toys or equipment. The best I can do, is give them a sympathetic hug or a kiss, but neither have been successful repair tools.

My approach doesn’t “fix it,” or do much to make the kids feel better, but my husband delights in reversing their frustration over the toys that they’ve given up on. He tells them all the time, “Dad can fix anything,” and proves there’s nothing he can’t fix, by welding on their run over bikes or broken swings, and using duct tape or wire to fasten toy parts back together. The kids have never walked away with their repaired item disappointed. My husband gets great satisfaction out of seeing big smiles on their faces when he hands them something he repaired, because he hates to see them sad over broken toys or equipment that’s fixable. He goes to great lengths to see the kids’ (or mine) look of amazement at his work, like the time I found him at the kitchen table sewing up a ripped stuffed animal for our daughter.

Another time, she came home from kindergarten very distraught. She’d told her friends at school, “My dad can fix anything,” and no matter how much she tried to convince them she was telling the truth, they didn’t believe her. When she relayed the scenario to us at the supper table, my husband reassured her that he did in fact, know how to fix anything by recounting a list of things he’d already fixed for her. He stated that she’s just lucky because “Those other girls don’t have dads like me,” and “They don’t know what I can do.”

As if he held a degree in toy-repairing, he said, “Those girls’ dads probably don’t even have the knowledge, education and training to fix stuff. The only way they know how to fix it is to go buy another one,” which got a giggle and a smile. As she regained confidence in his abilities, he added, “Other dads don’t know how to fix things because they’re not smart enough, industrious enough, or have the tools and resources (that would be bailing wire, electrical and duct tape, gorilla glue, or a welder) to repair things like I can!”

Doing repairs on a ranch is a year-round job that requires imaginative thinking in problem solving since conventional solutions usually cost too much, never seem readily available, and don’t always hold up as good or as long. I consider my husband to be very qualified in fixing anything. Maybe even overqualified, by the looks of some of the repair jobs he’s done for our kids. It may not always look pretty when they get their stuff back, but it’ll be fixed.

I feel helpless when the kids bring me their broken things and I don’t know how to repair them. I’m always thankful and relieved whenever my husband fixes anything kid-related. If he can fix it, I give him a big hug and a kiss

column originally published August 24-30, 2008

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