There has been much ink spilled over relationships with fathers. The women who want to marry men just like dad. The men who labour to gain paternal approval/acknowledgement. From a distance it seemed that fathers acted as some invisible, muscular influence on their offspring's life choices or as some ever-present boogeyman who warped and scarred a future artist to perfection.
I spent my formative years out of contact with my father, so I have to admit I've never fully understood the power of the role. There were a few years there where I wondered whether this lack of a strong paternal figure would ultimately mess me up, especially in my relationship choices. As if my choices would not be my own, but dictated unconsciously by some scarring absence.
The other day, I was reading a book to G. One of those Richard Scarry "word" books with each page detailing categories of objects or people. We were on the "jobs" page. You can be anything you want to be when you grow up, it advertised. A fire fighter, a doctor, a builder, a dentist...what do you want to be when you grow up?
Well, I asked G., tickling his belly, what do you want to be when you grow up?