I Can See Your House From Here

Justin 11 months Howard House Roof 1978

My dad has had many good ideas through the years, however, I don’t know if taking his 11 month old son on top of a house was one of them. Especially one month after his son had a run in with a coffee table. Regardless, I can’t deny that this is a great picture. After all, how many people have a picture of themselves on a roof before their first birthday?

It’s worth noting that this event may be my first memory. It’s not the impressive view from atop the house that I remember. It’s also not the terrifying climb up and down the ladder. It’s not even my mom coming outside, seeing my dad and I atop the house, freaking out, then, thankfully, taking a picture so I could write this post nearly 40 years later. What I remember is my mom tearing into my dad about the whole thing once we were back on the ground. Arguably, this could be a false memory, however, my mom has confirmed that she had a few words with my dad that day.

This story makes me think about the differences and similarities between my dad’s parenting style and my own. My dad became a parent a couple of years after high school and I didn’t become a parent until nearly 20 years after high school. I don’t know if my dad would have taken 11 month old me up on a roof when he was in his late 30s, however, there’s a good chance that I would have taken my daughter onto a roof to duplicate this picture if she’d been born when I was in my early 20s—there’s also a good chance that my wife would have reacted the same way my mom did.

With this in mind, I’m thinking about all the crazy adventures I had on the farm with Grandpa Smith—who was well into his 60s at the time these adventures occurred. Suddenly, taking an 11 month old on top of a roof doesn’t seem like such a big deal. But, I’m getting ahead of myself again.

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