(This column ran in The Covington News on Sunday, June 17, 2012.)
As you know, today is Father’s Day—and my challenge of the day is to see if I can make it through 24 hours without once uttering some variation of the phrase, “Go ask your father.”
Because, honestly, the poor man has earned a day off. He works full-time, is going to school-full time, and has been busy lately with car repairs, yard work and a dozen other things around the house. Surely I can handle these boys all by myself long enough to give him a much-needed day of rest.
At least, I think I can.
If I had only one thing to thank my husband Donnie for, it would be just plain being here to help raise these three sons of ours. Not a day passes without one of them presenting me with a situation that truly would be best handled by their dear ol’ dad.
“Mom—I was just playing Halo and I got the Spartan officer emblem but it still never gave me the helmet or the achievement, and now my Arbiter is gone and the Pelican has crashed!”
Like I’m supposed to know what to do? I don’t speak Halo. I don’t even speak Xbox, unless it’s to play Fruit Ninja on Kinect. Which is a really fun, stress-relieving workout, by the way. If you don’t have an Xbox Kinect, you should get one, just for the pleasure of karate-chopping your stress away on Fruit Ninja.
“Go tell your father.”
“Me and Tyler were riding our bikes and jumping the ramps, but I landed hard and now the bike frame is crooked—and when I tried to bend it back, this part broke off,” says the eldest, while handing me some unidentifiable chunk of metal.
“Go show your father.”
“There’s a huge, hairy spider crawling up the shower curtain and I’m afraid to take a bath!” screeches the middle boy, clutching a towel in front of his naked form.
“Go tell Dad, OK?”
See how well that works? If a problem falls anywhere remotely near the Guy Zone of repairs, electronics or critter-slaying, I don’t even try to remedy it—delegation at its finest.
I can be pretty rotten, though. Because sometimes even when a problem is decidedly closer to the Mom Zone of cleaning, cooking and child care, I sometimes see if I can pass it off to Daddy. Discretely, of course.
Sometimes, Jonah comes toddling up to me, fragrant and smiling, announcing, “I pooped!” If Donnie is home, I look around to see if anyone saw Jonah telling me about his little surprise, and if not, I at least try to delegate the diaper-changing.
“Where’s Da-da?” I whisper. “Go see Da-da! Say, ‘Da-da—I pooped!’” And bless his little two-and-a-half-year-old heart, he smiles and bounds off to go find his father, yelling the words I whispered to him. And bless Donnie’s 40-something-year-old heart, he can never resist his littlest boy’s cuteness, even when it’s accompanied by an unpleasant task.
But I hereby promise that at least for today, my dear husband will not have to change any diapers, repair any bicycles, or slay any vermin—unless one of those nasty, humongous Palmetto bugs crashes our Father’s Day party and then he will have to save me from it, lest I fall over dead from fright and really make it a holiday to remember.
Donnie might also be responsible today for a little directing on the Xbox. But that’ll be because he’ll be on it, at some point, I’m sure—enjoying one of his favorite forms of recreation. Oh, the male bonding that occurs over the video console in our house!
So, no matter what it looks like in your family, take a little time to honor dear ol’ Dad today. Comedian Chris Rock says, “Nobody ever says, ‘Hey Daddy—thanks for knocking out this rent. I sure love this hot water. It’s easy to read with all this light.’” But you know, maybe we should. Our fathers do so many simple things that we never stop to think about, but sure would notice if they were gone.
Here’s hoping that all the hardworking, unsung heroes we call Dad get a much-deserved day of rest—and some heartfelt words of thanks today.
Kari Apted is a writer and speaker residing in Georgia with her husband, three sons, and an ever-changing menagerie of pets. She writes a humorous weekly parenting column for The Covington News and freelances for various publications.more»