March 20, 2018

Family Time Under the Hood

My dad restores cars as a hobby. He does it because he likes it, not because he has to or because he’s trying to make money off of it. It’s relaxing for him, even when he hits a difficult spot. And it’s a hobby that I’ve gotten to share with him over the years.

Soon after I moved out of my parents’ house, Dad started restoring a 1960s-era Mustang convertible — my dream car. I was busy with school and didn’t get to help him as much as I wanted. Even though I’m not a mechanic by any stretch, I was still Dad’s helper when I was around. It was my job to help organize things as he took the old motor apart, scrape paint, fetch tools, hold the light, and just be a general “gofer.” I found the tasks, and our talks, relaxing as well.

I moved out of state before the car was finished and never got to drive my dream car. But I did enjoy the time spent with my father — the most important part for me.

Each time I go back to visit, if Dad’s working on a car I go out to the garage to help. My husband, a mechanic for 20 years, also gets in on the act. While we help with the car, we talk about what’s going on with everyone in the family and generally catch up on each others’ lives. Dad also tells stories about the adventures he and his siblings had as teenagers. I really enjoy those times, as I get to know my dad better.

With a child on the way in less than two months, I’ve been thinking a lot about family and how we can all spend time together and make memories. There’s nothing like putting your head under a car hood, getting dirty, and working on a project with your family. Conversation flows easier when you have something to keep your hands busy and your attention diverted. It holds a lot of special memories for me, something I’d like to pass on to our son.

I spent a lot of time with my dad and our cars. Our son will spend time with his dad AND mom learning about cars. Because I want him to be confident in his car knowledge. I also want him to look back with fond memories of our family time under the hood. Do you consider your time with cars an opportunity for making memories?

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