I feel like I have lots of mileage for a dude who just wrote how he’s halfway there.
If stop-and-go city driving miles push a car to the auto salvage yard quicker than country miles, maybe parenthood miles push a dad to pasture quicker than childless men’s miles. I’d so much rather take on the wear and tear than not to take this path, though.
Rather than a car, I am, as a dad, more like a skillet with age.
The seasonings of use and heat and duress enhance it for the next meal. I’m better off for that. I can look back at the men I meant to be for my girls that have fallen off along the way like pine needles on a Christmas tree when you strap it to the roof of your car with the tip pointing forward, not the trunk.
Trust me on this one.
Here are five worthy men I could have been, but haven’t, in 19 years of fatherhood. It’s too late for most of them. These images crumbled like a baggie of Goldfish crackers dumped on the floorboard of the backseat of my car (geez, the metaphors today!)
The patient dad
I meditate. My blood pressure’s good. I wait in traffic without the use of my middle finger. These things are quiet. What the kids will remember is the day I made waffles for dinner and cursed under my breath and slammed kitchen drawers!
They see some fire, sometimes. Maybe that’s not bad.
The sage dad
He’s the dude with a saying for every situation. He got them from his papa. My papa didn’t have sayings. He did teach me to throw a spiral and took me fishing. When you’re throwing spirals and fishing, there’s not a lot of need for sayings.
I hope my girls feel this way when we’re throwing spirals and fishing.
The ultimate cook dad
I love to cook, but I am like the student who graduates last in medical school. Still a doctor, but if you need Lasik surgery, you might want a guy who went to class more often, right? What I make works for dinner 9 times out of 10.
What I make won’t grace the pages of Better Homes & Gardens 9 times out of 10.
The dad who wouldn’t wear white socks and black slip-on shoes in public
No one ever said, Man, those girls’ dad has style! I tried to keep it reasonable. It’s easier in winter when I can tie on a tie and cover myself with a pullover and even put goop in my hair and shave. In summer, I dress like a 10-year-old boy. Who wears grandpa’s footwear.
The dad I am
I might sometimes lose my temper at dumb things like cracked cellphone screens and forgetting to pack underwear for a trip. But I also don’t mind driving all the way to Swannanoa to bring my girl home.
I might sometimes not have the answers to life’s problems, but I’ll get right alongside you and try and figure it out together.
I might not know when to start the green beans when I’m making spaghetti, but I’ll tackle any recipe – even ones that ask me to separate eggs – if I think you’ll find it tasty.
I might not always dress like Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes, but … oh hell, girls, who am I kidding? Yes, I will. You know that.
But with comfy shoes and a few snacks, imagine the places we still can go.
The rest of the A to Z to this point:
A is for Addiction to Devices
C is for Interview with a Cat
D is for Do What I Do and Eat What I Eat
E is for Eight Things I’ve Left Behind
F is for Foods That Bring Me Comfort
H is for Halfway There
I is for Ice Cream
J is for Justification for the Blog Life
K is for 7 Women I’d Sing Karaoke With