I walked to my truck with a drill in one hand and some part that I didn’t know what to call in the other.
I opened the tailgate and sat everything down.
None of this seemed natural. It felt more like I was dressed up as a handyman getting ready to go trick or treating.
“Dad, what’s that thing?”
I didn’t know what to call it but that didn’t seem like an appropriate answer.
“Uh, this? Oh, it’s a clamp.”
Here’s a piece of advice. If you’re ever holding some strange piece of metal that looks like it needs to be bolted onto something and someone asks you what that strange piece of metal is, always tell them that it’s a clamp. You have a greater than 57% chance of being right. Trust me, I study these kinds of things.
My answer satisfied my son and he went on playing with his brother in the trees and bushes behind me.
Fixing things has always been very hard for me. Fixing things with an audience is even harder. No father wants to be corrected by his six-year old.
“Dad, why are you drilling that clamp into the base end of the valve stem? It’s supposed to go in the rivet end.”
I really wanted to get this job done. I wanted to show my sons that there was a problem and their dad fixed it. I wanted them to be proud of me.
As the minutes went by, it became more and more apparent that I wasn’t the man for the job. I wasn’t a handyman. I was dressed up for Halloween a few days late.
At the peak of my frustration my youngest son called me.
“Dad! You can help me with this?”
He was pulling a branch from a tree. He needed it for a sword fight with is brother.
I stopped whatever you call it that I was doing and walked over to help him transform a tree limb into a sword. When I handed it to him he smiled, thanked me and started laughing.
I walked back to my truck and put everything away. I was a defeated man. Defeated by a clamp. I had let down my wife, my kids and the entire male species.
My wife gave me a new perspective.
She reminded me that fixing things doesn’t make me a man. Being a man means using the gifts God has given me to glorify him by serving and leading my family. Being a man means being present and being engaged.
My sons may or may not remember the day that I couldn’t fix a clamp.
But they will most likely remember the day that I put a drill down so that I could pull a limb from a tree and kick a soccer ball.
Call me a glutton for punishment but when I’m done writing this I’m going to head home to try my handyman skills again.
This time I have to put a hood on an old Jeep and mount a machine gun on top of it.
Nothing can boost the confidence of a failed handyman quite like a big box of Legos.