Saturday, June 18, 2011
Father's Day and All That
Today was my last Saturday shift I am glad to say. I'm not so glad that a lot of people died on my watch, though. A guy was shot dead by his girlfriend, a guy was shot dead by the police, a guy died rafting in Montana, a guy died in a road crash and, most sadly of all, an infant died when she fell off a hotel balcony in Virginia Beach.
With Father's Day on the horizon it's hard to think of this small girl, although all of the people who died had fathers and I'm sure some of them were fathers.
There's a guy in my office who hasn't seen his father for most of the decade due to the fact he's an uber jerk. I told him he should call his father out of the blue, for the hell of it. The suggestion was met with derision and it was partly in jest but when I thought about it; why not? What is there to lose?
What's the point of Father's Day if you can't call up your jerk father and say, I don't know....
"Dad. Happy Father's Day. Are you still a big jerk?"
Still it saddens me when I hear from people whose fathers treat them in such a way because being a father is an honor of sorts, albeit a confounding one.
I'm not saying I should mount some pedestal and beat my chest while I receive a father of the year award. In a post last year called the art of being a crap dad, I described just that.
I try to live up to these expectations. There's a teacher at Jackson's daycare who has a special expression for me. It doesn't build up my self esteem in the mornings because it includes a rather quizzically raised eyebrow - or rather monobrow in this case - she lives in the country.
The expression will be used in tandem with a question that is as much an accusation such as: "Got his diapers?" or "Where's his bottle?"
These questions will be met with incoherent muttering normally as I make a sharp exit through the nearest window. Recently I was able to counter one of these accusations because I had at least two bottles in backup. Sadly it threw me off accusation number two and I completely forgot about my promise to get his other shoe from the car and drove off.
The daycare staff will then spend most of the day compiling a damning dossier of my crapness to hit my wife with when she picks him up.
"dressed like a hobo/droopy pants/ top missing from bottle/mismatched socks" etc.
Zara's more self sufficient these days but she's been asking me for the last six months if I can do lunch with her because parents can apparently show up in a group sympathy exercise in which they share the unspeakable gruel that is school dinners.
"Err, um, maybe next week," is my normal retort. That was until I realized this week that there was no next week.
"OK. I'll be there today." I said. It was just like that out of the blue. Decisive. Like when Hitler said: "Let's invade Poland."
And I showed up Monday. When I saw Zara by the cafeteria she looked a little wild eyed and alarmed.
"Is this a surprise?" asked her teacher.
"Yes." said Zara.
"Hey. I told you earlier I was coming," I said.
"I assumed you'd forget."
Well this was flattering.
"It was student awards this morning and all the parents were there," she added.
"Um. well we weren't." Obviously.
Although the food verged on the inedible at least I got mine free on account of whipping out a $10 note that they had no change for. And I think it was a bonding experience, of sorts. A way of saying 'I may be crap, but at least I was there.'
So - you know. Father's Day's coming up and crap dads deserve presents too.