Why Dads Come in Second – but a Strong Second

photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc
photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc

Moms are smart.

They’re brave. They’re instinctive. They’re inspiring.

They’re giving and forgiving. And we dads – and men, in general, regardless of your status of having or having not spawned – must give them their props.

You have the inside track on parenting, in nature. Babies grow inside you. They are nourished by you. They’re suckled and protected and taught by you.

Dads, no matter how intent our actions, or sharp our awareness, or keen our sense of our place in a family, can’t know parenthood from that perspective.

Not even as a seahorse.

That doesn’t make it any easier.

 

photo credit: johnb/Derbys/UK. via photopin cc
photo credit: johnb/Derbys/UK. via photopin cc

Someone hit a goose with their car on my way home a few months ago. I passed by just after it happened.

This is just part of spring – you’ll see small birds chasing hawks to protect a nest; baby birds fallen out of nests, relying on nature and luck to survive; a family a ducks walking, mom in front, dad in back, babies in between.

My first thought was, “I hope that was the dad. So that the babies have their mom still, to survive.”

Plus, wouldn’t it be the dad who wandered out on a four-lane road, most likely?

I know our rep.

But being exterior, not possessing the instincts you do, isn’t always a convenience. Sure, it must be for guys who can just leave their mark and move on. Nature lets us off the hook sometimes.

Sometimes, we don’t want to be let off the hook, though.

I remember Jason. I’m pretty sure he’s passed on long ago. He was a ladies’ man, and made no bones about it. He was a real rover. He made his rounds around the neighborhood, spreading his seed in a wide radius. There were many pups out there who kind of looked like this tallish, cocoa-brown muttish player.

 

photo credit: Perry McKenna via photopin cc
photo credit: Perry McKenna via photopin cc

He was a dog. Literally.

And there were many puppies who could have called him dad. He didn’t have to stay. He didn’t have to park it in anyone’s dog house but his own.

Not all dudes are wired this way. Even when we struggle, even when we get things wrong, even when it looks as if we’d rather be doing something else, there’s something innate about being a dad that is so intertwined in who we are, that job – as dad – can’t possibly wander far from the center of our hearts.

Even when we’re, for all the world to see, mismatched. We know we can’t do things the way mom does. That’s OK. We’ll do things the way dad does. Even if it’s the remedy of putting down newspaper on every spill and mess, like Adam Sandler’s character in “Big Daddy,” we’re at least doing something.

Sonny Koufax, Sandler’s character in “Big Daddy,” decided at one point to allow the child in his foster care to do whatever he wanted to. Dress the way he wanted to. Even pick out his own name – Frankenstein.

“You can do whatever you want to do, buddy,” Sonny told the kid, “and I’ll show you some cool sh*t along the way.”

I’m not sure we dads should do it like Sonny Koufax (or at least, openly admit it), but when we let the leash out a bit and allow the kid to learn from her mistakes, it’s by design, often, and not just apathy.

No, it might not be the mom way.

That’s a tried and true way.

A way that probably has a great deal to do with the human race even existing today.

But, like mom, we dads will “show them some cool sh*t along the way.”

Five for Friday: Movies to watch with your kids when mom isn’t lookin’

movies lead
photo credit: DSC01754 via photopin (license)

I’ll buy chips for my kids on the way home from soccer practice.

Allow them to wrestle and chase each other. In the grocery store. Look the other way when they throw a little swagger in their soccer game. I’m a little funny, though, when it comes to movies.  My oldest is 14. She can watch PG-13 movies. But I cringe.

Not the language or violence, necessarily. But the themes. The innuendo. The … I dunno, sultry stuff.

Makes me want to throw up a little in my mouth and pee myself a little. I’d rather her see a car chase with a smash-up ending, hear more applications of the F-word, or get startled by a killer, zombie, or politician in the court room than to hear locker-room talk.

Continue reading “Five for Friday: Movies to watch with your kids when mom isn’t lookin’”

$ign here: Something to think about before you pay for an autograph

 

photo credit: andres musta via photopin cc
photo credit: andres musta via photopin cc

Poor Cam Newton.

Not poor Cam Newton. An NFL quarterback, with multi-year contracts and endorsement deals, cannot be called *poor*, unless he’s gambled his earnings away, or squandered them on wine, women and song, or left them in a Hefty bag in the backseat of a taxi cab.

Or if he’s torn a knee ligament just before the playoffs and can’t play. Then it’d be, “*poor* (insert quarterback’s name here – I don’t want to jinx anyone), he can’t play in the playoffs.”

Cam Newton, the Carolina Panthers star quarterback, isn’t poor in any of those ways.

Continue reading “$ign here: Something to think about before you pay for an autograph”

25 Things About Me … to Get This Party Started

photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc
photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc

1. I don’t know if it’s just my vibe or a gift from above, but I have this tendency to get food when I really want it but don’t ask for it. It just appears. I’d rather have this gift than, say, X-ray vision.

2. The longest I’ve ever lost one of my kids was probably a minute, but it felt like an hour. It was probably more like 27 seconds, but she was just 3. I found her as she stood among the crowd at a tech and toy show in Tallahassee, all smiles at everyone as she tried not to look nervous.

3. I always assume I’ll have enough sugar in the kitchen, gas in the tank, or spirit in the soul to do whatever I want to do in the moment. When I don’t have enough, it’s as big a shock to me as anyone. (Reminder: Sometimes the soul doesn’t have a low-fuel light).

4. I’d love to buy a cheeseburger for everyone who has commented on my blog.

5. Because the Colorado Rockies have a pitcher who 9 nine years older than me, it doesn’t matter that I’m nearly twice as old as any of the rookies on the team. The old guy’s presence alone means I’m still young.

6. My sister and I used to camp with my dad so high in the Rockies that you couldn’t get a radio station. We thought we were on another planet.

Baritone saxophone

7. I was supposed to play baritone saxophone in a studio band. At least, that’s what I thought in junior high.

8. My first celebrity crush was Judy Jetson. I’ve since moved on. My first human crush was Ms. Tisdale, the teacher’s assistant in kindergarten. I’ve since moved on.

9. My coolest scar is on my elbow. Well, really my only even good one. The cool story is that I got it after I was hit with a pool cue. Sounds tough, huh? The details – that I was 12, had just gotten out of the swimming pool and it was by a 10-year-old girl named Angie, because I called her “Angelina” – make it less Steven Segal and more like the kid from Wonder Years.

10. I once carried Stephen King’s bags when I worked in a hotel. We talked baseball. He’s a good tipper. He had tons of sh*t in the back of his car, including a wooden bird cage. I didn’t ask. He carries about eight identical ink pens in the front pocket of his jeans. He also totes these bags of steno pads with hand-written stuff in them. I so wanted to steal one.

11. I feel like a bowl of Frosted Flakes is a good way to end a day. Don’t judge. It’s not hard liquor or animal testing.

12. I’m from Colorado, but don’t ski. I’m Hispanic, but don’t speak very good Spanish. I live in the South, but don’t drink sweet tea.

13. When I hear the song “Follow you, follow me” by Genesis, it’s like a special message from my dad, and it’s always incredibly timed. I’ll write about it someday.

14. I once dropped a quarter at McDonald’s and it landed inside a young girl’s shoe. She didn’t know where it came from. She picked it out and showed her mom. “Where did that come from?” Mom asked. The girl just shrugged. The mom seemed a little ticked. I said nothing. Hopefully, she’ll think it was the tooth fairy gone rogue.

15. My one and only athletic highlight was scoring a two-point conversion on my junior varsity football team in seventh grade. It was a simple off-tackle run. I even acted like I’d been there before – in the end zone – even though, I hadn’t. Or would ever return again.

16. I know that parents hate it, but the kids and I love it when it rains during our games.

Charlie Brown! (7539446408)

17. I always wondered why there were no Mexican kids on Charlie Brown.

18. I once fell in a hole while jogging. Pitched forward after stepping in mid-calf-high mud and landed with a thud. This, just two blocks from the place the pedal of my bike snapped off just before I turned onto a busy road. It’s like Jesus doesn’t want me to exercise outside.

19. I can’t swim. I’ve almost drown, twice, but I still love to go swimming with the kids. I try to limit my time in the deep end, though. That’d be a lousy way to make the news.

20. The coolest names we’ve had for my soccer teams have been Mysteries and Snow Monsters. My kids made those up.

21. When I was a kid, I swore my Fred Flintstone piggy bank and the Darth Vader toy on my desk had conversations. More like pleasantries and small-talk. I didn’t think they had much in common though.

22. I could have been an NFL quarterback. It was the height and athleticism and talent I had a problem with.

23. I don’t yell a lot on the sideline and this bothers some parents. The kids know what to do. My vocalization is encouragement for a kid lagging behind or reminders of where they should be, stuff like that. I’ve also been nearly-tossed from a game only once.

24. Math is, by far, my worst subject. UNC Charlotte, my alma mater, didn’t even offer the math I qualified for, so I took a course at CPCC. I did pass it. Thing is, I can calculate slugging percentage and third-down conversions and batting averages on the fly when I need to. Luckily, there’s no trigonometry in soccer.

25. I joke around to such an extensive level with that sometimes when I’m really telling the truth, my girls won’t believe me. For hours.