No breakfast in bed, no sleeping in. I had to work on Father’s Day.
Before you start knitting your brow with sympathy, you should know that I teach sailing. It’s not like I sit in a cubicle, wondering why the hell I’m sitting in a cubicle on a beautiful day in June. I’m out on the water, loving life and trying to teach adults upwind from downwind (which can be astoundingly difficult for some).
My son was working from 3-8. He doesn’t drive, and I was going to be out on the water. I had to ask the former wife to drive him to work. She said that would be OK, but I had to leave him at her house overnight, because it’s too much trouble to drive to my house, all of less than 2 miles from her house. My daughter was already staying at her house that night. She doesn’t always tolerate the level of disorganization that I can, and that’s OK (and another subject).
I ignored the request and had my son sleep at my house anyway. I can’t count the number of trips I make every week over to the other residence, to pick them up, to retrieve a needed piece of homework, to get shoes for my 13 year-old daughter, who inexplicably arrived at my house without suitable–or sometimes any–footwear. But the disparity in number of trips made is another raspberry seed in a stuck in a molar. Forget about it, it falls out eventually.
I knew I’d be out of the house hours before my dormouse of a teen-aged son even cracked his eyelids a wee bit open. That didn’t matter. I don’t really need much for Father’s Day. In fact, I only need one thing: a single wish that I have a happy Father’s Day from both of my children.
That’s what I needed. I wanted a little bit more. I wanted to wake up with at least one of my children in the house, whether or not we’d be able to exchange good mornings. I can’t explain, but it meant a lot to me. I live far from my family, in a part of the country where I don’t have deep roots. Waking up alone in a house on Father’s Day? I didn’t want to give myself a chance to brood about that idea. I’m very good at brooding.
Before I left for work, I wrote a note to my son: don’t forget to call my dad, my step-dad (if he hadn’t been seeing his mom later, I would have reminded him to call the former wife’s dad, as I have always done in the past), and to walk Genius Mutt.
This simple act made me feel contented as I left the house. It was the cherry on top of waking up as father, a child of mine asleep in his room. But it got even better: when I picked up Sam after his work, I learned that he had actually done all three things. Off to Smashburger and Ben & Jerry’s.
When I got home, my daughter was waiting for me. She was concerned that she hadn’t seen me yet, in order that she might wish me a happy day. She also wrote a letter to me–unintentionally sounding like it was torn from a page of Ulysses–enumerating the reasons why I was the best dad in the world.