Dads: Don’t let a big cheesy burger get the best of you


coach daddy stormtrooper dinosaur
A T-rex is mighty, yes. Sometimes it pays not to take the biggest bite of your Jurassic loved ones.

I hate when I’m boorish.

It doesn’t happen often. But when it does … I mean, it’s lowkey. Well, okay. Not lowkey. But not extra, as the kids would say. Somewhere between lowkey and extra. Yes, it’s come to this. (But definitely closer to lowkey than extra.)

The funny thing – and it wasn’t really funny at the time – was that it all happened because of juicy Lucy cheeseburgers.

Juicy Lucies are Minnesota delights. Manna of Heaven. They’re huge burgers with a treasure trove of cheese inside. I made one for everyone, the biggest – the juiciest, cooked a beautiful shade of medium rare – for myself. So go the benefits of a dad with a skillet.

Only, somehow, in the bedlam that is dinner with my girls, dad’s big burger – Queen Lucy – wound up on someone else’s plate.

My Lucy. My Juicy Lucy. Where the hell is my burger? I didn’t go nuts – it wasn’t, you know, extra – but it wasn’t so lowkey. I thought my burger was on Camdyn’s plate. Only, it was already in Camdyn’s mouth. You can still have it, she said, but I didn’t want it.

The bear truth

Hell with it, I said, and I tossed a twice-baked potato on my plate and moved on.

It came with a good dose of passive-aggressive. Probably what you’d see from a papa bear when his cubs got the heartier chunk of salmon than he – if bears were as petty as me. It was stupid and ludicrous and lasted only a few moments. But still.

And I looked at my youngest who was enjoying – I thought – a delicious burger stuffed with cheese, perhaps God’s greatest invention since playoff football and Nancy Carell, crafted with love by her father because it really was. I love to cook for my family.

She should have enjoyed the game and a burger big as a snapping turtle and the comfort of home and her family’s love –  instead, she was probably trying to figure out why her dad coveted that burger more than playoff football. And Nancy Carell.

Hayden’s more the stone-cold killa of the Pacheco girls.

Turns out, she had the Alpha Lucy. And didn’t even flinch. I settled in with my way adequate burger and tried to watch the Saints’ then the Vikings’ then the Saints’ and ultimately the Vikings’ historic comeback on the TV screen.

But I felt like shit because what if I just made my kid feel like crap?

Legacy logic

We don’t get to choose our legacies. I think of myself as the benevolent dad, the fun father who supports and loves his family unconditionally. The guy who can cook and is patient and is that man the girls used to love to call coach.

Reality is these little outbursts – micro-outbursts, really, compared to what some men are capable of – define my legacy more than I’d like.

Camdyn’s a strong young woman. But she doesn’t need some man getting pissy because she might have wound up with his dinner. I offered some of my drink to her and tried to convey the apologetic vibe to her and I know she’s fine.

I am a calm person, but my girls take that serenity to an impressive level.

Saturday, Hayden’s and Madison’s team lost a tournament final to a hated rival. Camdyn’s team rolled, thanks to a huge day she turned in. It included a dad from the opposing team asking his daughter to hammer Camdyn.

I wanted to challenge him to a duel right after the game – Camdyn, though, kept playing, beat the girl, helped her team score, and then turned to find her dad in the crowd.

I might have flipped a bird. She did not. She jogged back to midfield and shrugged as she kept eye contact with him. He didn’t speak much after that. Such a cool, low-key response from a kid dealing with boorish behavior.

Kind of makes me want to make sure she gets the big burger next time.

lama quote calm

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21 thoughts on “Dads: Don’t let a big cheesy burger get the best of you

  1. We’ve all had those less than stellar moments. I think how we deal with them (e.g., acknowledging our bad behaviour and apologizing) has a greater impact than the initial incident. We both learn and grow, and that’s even better than a burger with cheese…and I love my beef & cheese (even though I’m lactose intolerant). 😉

  2. I once made salisbury steaks with ground beef. I usually use turkey. But by the time I had made everyones plate and went back to make mine, the last one was gone. My oldest was so happy to have been he ate two, before I could have one. Oh man it wasn’t pretty. He offered me what was left, but I was not so nice about it. We don’t talk about that night anymore LOL . But he knows now to ask first and I know to make extras. Also, right on Camdyn. Sometimes the kids end up being the bigger people! Shes awesome!

    1. It’s normal to have a beef over beef, isn’t it Kim? There’s nothing (well, few things) as deflating as our own piece of meat disappearing.

      I also cooked this one medium rare and wasn’t sure she’d like it. Hayden sure did!

      I was quite proud of Camdyn. I wasn’t happy that a grown man would ask his daughter to hurt someone else’s daughter, too. I’d like to have audience with a guy like that, in private.

  3. Can I be with you when you have a convesation with that guy? I could trip him with my walking stick 😉 You can certainly be proud of your girl 💜

  4. I show my unconditional love for my family by cooking and letting them eat my creations. Even when I’d rather not share. Unfortunately, I have heard of frustrated parents suggesting their child take drastic, lowbrow measures in a sporting event. It makes me sadder than having to share my cheesy cheese burger.

    1. 99.9% of the time, it’s like that for me, brother. But if I’m going to write that, I’ve got to write this. And once, a dad like this called on his son to take out Camdyn and she ended up with a separated shoulder.

      MUCH sadder than a cheesy cheeseburger on the ground, even. Or even a spilled bowl of poutine.

  5. Children need to see how we bounce back from when we aren’t acting our best. They have to learn that, too. From the way she behaved at the game, you’ve taught her that before, it’s okay that the lesson gets reinforced once in so often.

    1. Yes, and I think my girls do that, Meems. I also make it a point not to push them when they’re not at their best … to back off a little and let them work it out.

      She also did a great job of calming down her teammates when things got heated in that big game!

  6. I think it is good for our kids to see us have a momentary break from our normal – got it together – cool parent status. Reminds them that we are human too.

    1. Oh, I missed the cut on the cool parents thing, but that’s okay! If anything, I can serve to show them what humans are capable of. Good and bad. Well, not bad. Just less good. I hope.

  7. Your girls sound awesome! Sounds like that girl has “the look” down pat and she is just a teenager! How cool is that? That will take her far if she continues to use it for good! LOL!
    You should feel guilty about reacting to a burger.. seriously Eli? Food? Make SURE she gets the Alpha burger the next time, but don’t let her in on it! Just know you did the right thing! 😉

    1. My girls rock! She handles herself with such composure, on the field and off. Dumb dads don’t rattle her.

      Maybe the girls and I should compete for the alpha burger next time. Thumb wrestle at least.

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