My dad was a scientist, my mom a farm-girl. Both left Europe and started life anew after the war in Canada. For a few years, my dad studied, and my mom worked to support the family. They were pragmatic people, flexible, and as I grew up, there were few “gendered” activities in our home. Lunch was prepared, or the bicycle repaired, or the lawn mowed by one or the other of the adults or children. When I started to choose a career path in highschool, it was hard to choose: Teacher? Artist? Scientist? Everything seemed possible. I didn’t know how lucky I was in this, until much later.
Recently, as my Dad lay dying, I made a short list of things I wanted to say to him before he slipped away. At the top of the list was this:
“Thank you for never treating us like ‘just girls’. You treated us as people, believed that we could do anything, let all things be possible.” I’m so glad I got the chance to tell him that in person.
His response? “But, of course!?”