I have a scar on my left ankle from a petrified piece of tree that my dad used to hold his office door open when I was a child. I don’t remember exactly when I tripped on that rock, but I remember the excitement of going to my dad’s offices all through my childhood. My dad is a geologist, so his offices were full of maps, rocks, and very grown-up-looking desks that my sister and I would sit at with colored pencils and scrap paper. As we got older, the shelves in his offices were littered with scraggly pinched pots made in art class, sitting next to various pictures and paintings we’d made for him over the years. Now, he works at home, but I still like to visit him there and see the wire tree with roots wrapping a rock. That tree has been his officemate for at least 25 years.
So when my husband said last weekend that he wanted to take our boys to his office to show them what he does, I got really excited for the kids. Since the boys were born, my husband has worked under nondisclosure agreements so strict the kids couldn’t visit him at work. He moved to a new, less trade-secretive department in January, and not only has an accessible office with a desk. Now he has an office and a chemistry lab – the perfect combination of technology and science. And Daddy. Magic.
I think it’s really important to know what your parents do. Where they go when they aren’t at home with you. It helps kids see that their moms and dads are real people, and it gives them ideas about what they can be when they grow up. And it gives them things to remember when they do grow up.
When my husband took the boys to show them Daddy’s work, they even got to help in the lab. They donned official safety goggles and filled vials from a fancy machine. They came home bursting to tell me how they walked down the hall from HIS desk to HIS lab. How they used a robotic arm and a special water machine and a microscope. How they actually got to help Daddy with his REAL JOB! They may not have an ankle scar from a piece of petrified wood to remember Daddy’s work by, but my guess is they’ll be thinking of visits to his lab when they grow up and have kids of their own.