Sunday, June 19, 2005

...but I'm a published flake

A piece that I originally wrote and first published here on Devas T. Rants and Raves! has been republished on today's Austin American Statesman's Features front. While watching my son play his first soccer game earlier this year, I scribbled some mental notes reflecting my thoughts and emotions as I watched him play. The piece that followed I entitled "Soccer Dads." Ok, the Statesman changed the title, but, globally, their title is a better fit for a father's day theme. Read it here on Rants and Raves, or visit the Statesman's site for the edited and spell-checked version.

Celebrating Father's Day

Father's Day a year ago brought along with it both joy and frustration. It's a rare occasion that I have all three of my kids with me under one roof, and last year I did. I will treasure that event probably forever, however it was also the summer I damn near pulled my hair out one follicle at a time. The day was a bit, let's say, awkward. Probably just as much for the girls as it was for me. For those of you who don't know my family situation, you can read more about it here. Anyway, on this day, upon waking up, the atmosphere in my house was so thick, cutting it with a ginsu knife would not have been an easy task. The girls, then 17 and 21, weren't speaking to each other, having been arguing about something or another. My eldest was barely speaking to me since I started charging her $5.00 for every cigarette butt I found carelessly thrown in my back yard. My middle daughter, well, just plain don't speak much anyway. We are all getting dressed for church, and they are both evading me. I'm assuming they are avoiding having to cross my path therefore feeling forced to wish me a Happy Father's day. Eventually, we each crossed paths and they forced their Father's Day greetings. "Happy Father's day," they said from lips so tightly pursed, they had to spit to get it out. Neither of them actually looked me in the eye as they performed their daughterly duty. The house seemed more at ease once the girls rid themselves of the awful deed of honoring their father.

This whole experience bothered me. So much so, that I resolved to celebrate Father's Day a bit different this year. This year, I'll honor the father's in my life; my grandfather, my uncles and my brother, which is what I would normally do anyway. But in addition, I'll celebrate my successes. Because when I consider the father I had, not only as a child, but as an adult, I'm a damn good one. *sticking my thumbs in my ears, waving my fingers and making that spittle noise with my lips at whomever*
So, whatever my kids think of me, or how they choose to honor — or not honor me, I'll be celebrating regardless. I'll do breakfast at IHOP. I love pancakes. I'll go to church. I need a good spiritual message on Father's Day. For lunch, I'll have sushi at my favorite Chinese buffet, then take the family to a matinee movie or possibly swimming. I'll end the day with, well you know what: a beer. And if I'm get lucky, well I won't embarrass the wife. But I plan to get lucky.

Happy Father's Day!

Unrelated thought for the day: The wife's been giving me some lessons on communicating with her more effectively. I think I'm catching on.

Preferred communication: Could you please pick up a new shower curtain, when you have a minute and it's convenient for you, honey. Thank you.

Instead of: When are you gonna get a new shower curtain? This ones pretty nasty.


Friar Tuck said...

Fathers day has always been a difficult one for me. Dad not being around much because my parents got divorced when I was five. And not being married or having children of my own, I just feel left out.

I also send fathers day cards to those "second fathers" in my life every year. This year it was my uncle and my mentor Doug.

Oh well.

ShellyP said...

Absentee fathers really do miss out. That was a touching piece. Not having a father myself, I did the same as you - I honored the 'fathers' in my life. Happy Father's Day, Devast!

The Archivist said...

Father's Day isn't until later in the year over here.

Christopher M. Beatrice said...

Well considering my dad was never around, fathers day has never been much of a day to celebrate for me. I like your outlook on it maybe I will give it a try myself. I will start with you, Happy Fathers day you are a good man and your deserve the best wishes. Well thanks for all the encouragment you give all of us through your great stories.

Rinda M. Byers said...

I think that charging for the cigarette butts is pretty brilliant, myself! I would never have thought of that one...

I keep forgetting I need to post reactions to your comments here and not on my comment page...wo, wa, wooo...trying to wrestle with too much computer stuff lately, but I did leave a further note on the Voice and Style debate. Frankly, honestly, all that literary stuff mixes me up...I just know a good story when I read a good story sort of thing with me...

Rinda M. Byers

P.S. Happy Father's Day!

WIP said...

Happy Father's Day. Thanks for the positive comments lately. Congrats on your published piece!


Oricon Ailin said...

Wow! That is awesome that your story was printed in the paper! Congratulations!

I truly hope that your Father's Day is lovely and wonderful.

May God bless you!

Myrah said...

Sometimes children don't realize how well they have it and won't until they are parents themselves.

Thanks for being a great example of a Dad.... Someone some where is watching and seeing how it's done! They will soon appreciate you!

Happy Father's Day!

Luke Cage said...

Another grand accomplishment my brother. Continue doing that great work! Glad to hear that you were able to have all 3 of your kids beneath one roof at the same time even if it was a year ago. Although hearing you put that comedic spin on it was a good touch considering the sensitivity of it all. Hey, what did you end up seeing at the movies? Nice post all around my man. Have a great week!

Susan Taylor Brown said...

I loved your story about fathers. (sigh) Sounds like you are really one of the good guys and that's great to hear. I never knew my dad. He split before I was born so I grew up without any knowledge/contact of his side of the family. So father's day is tough. The only other father I have in my life is the greatest father-in-law in the world.

And I'm all over you with the story about your family. It took me 3 tries to get this marriage thing worked out and it makes an awkward story to share at times.

Write on, right now.

Jdid said...

hope you had a great father's day

Nikki said...

Hope you had an awesome Father's Day!!

Roz said...

Great Piece Don!