Bill Wedo likes to describe himself as the all around journalist. In his three decades as a writer, he's covered crimes and trials, celebrity interviews and arts reviews. He's been an online reporter for Philly.com for about 10 years and is now the publicist for Studio Incamminatti arts school in Philadelphia. But he says none of that compares to mastering the infinitely complicated art of being a father. In this essay Bill Wedo follows what's closest to his heart.
I believe in Oil and Water.
Otherwise known as our two daughters.
Clearly, they have earned the description.
For their entire lives - now more than a quarter century - they have tried to prove they are not each other.
Even their injuries give them away.
At the beach recently, as they slathered on the SPF, each sported a nasty bruise.
One received hers from sharp elbows in a basketball pickup game. The other received hers rescuing a friend from a drunken mosh pit.
You can't make this stuff up.
Their differences are lifelong and too numerous to catalog. One is a vegan, the other a steak lover. One enjoys a romantic comedy, the other is a fanatic for B-movie horrorfests.
One grew up an ultra-competitive goal-setter who earned a basketball scholarship and is now a Division I coach. The other pursued everything from volleyball to art purely for the enjoyment. She is a graphic designer.
To my dismay, their differences became walls. They grew up on separate tracks intersecting mostly for confrontations. They didn't attend each other's activities, didn't like each other's friends. Any conversations often led to me peeling them off each other. Over the years, their independence led them to some really stupid decisions that drove us crazy and cost us money.
My wife and I are to blame. Knowing how this world works, we raised them to be independent young women. The good news is they became independent young women. The bad news? Independent young women tend to think for themselves.
I admit, at times I cursed independent thought. At times, I envied families in which siblings shared mix tapes and giggles and watched each others backs.
But lately, I've been feeling pretty good about Oil and Water. I find myself seeing them in ways I never had. It helps that they now talk to each other. And, that they don't live at home anymore.
I have watched the coach at work as she he stands on the sideline, arms folded, unsmiling doing her best Pat Summit. And, I envy her for her sense of purpose and sacrifice.
I have never seen the designer on the job (mom and dad in the office? How lame) but I see those cute Disney Princesses shampoo bottles she designs every time I grocery shop. I envy her, too, for her sense of self-fulfillment and pursuit of joy.
A funny thing about oil and water.
Walking the dog after a shower, I noticed a puddle on the side of the road.
It was an easy thing to pass by. A seemingly ugly reminder of two totally incompatible substances.
But, the drops of oil had dispersed across the water surface and, when the light caught it just so, it created the most beautiful rainbow.
Hard to believe!