I know less about fatherhood than I know about….well….motherhood. And I know next to nothing about motherhood.
Don’t tell my kids.
But, it’s Father’s Day so it seems that something needs to be said about those stalwart men out there. These co-creators of our offspring who, despite conflicting DNA urges to run screaming from the village encampment, are now expected to bond, relate, nurture and practically breast feed the little darlings.
So here’s to the dudes out there who are trying really hard to pony up in this brave new world of fatherhood.
I’ve actually pondered (because that’s what I do…ponder) how much the role of father has changed and how quickly.
Now, I’m no spring chicken (and I’ve never understood what that meant anyway) but it seems to me there has been a pretty drastic change in the expectations put on dads since I was, well, a spring chicken.
Why, back in my day, fathers were rarely seen and often heard. And if you heard one, you ran away and hid because you were in a world of trouble.
Dads were put on earth to teach you things.
Important things, like:
- The difference between a flat-head and Phillips screw driver
- How to tie a solid knot
- The correct way to gut a fish
- The exceptionally high cost of water because Jesus Christ how long can it take to wash your privates and get the hell out???
- If you’re a boy, having the MOST UNCOMFORTABLE AND POTENTIALLY LIFE-ALTERING discussion about sex in the history of discussions about sex or anything else for that matter
- If you’re a girl, absolutely no discussion about anything. Ever. EVER. ASK YOUR MOTHER
- The exceptionally high cost of electricity because what the hell are you doing that requires so much God damned light? Reading? Light a candle!
- The fact that the odometer in a car does not change if the wheels don’t turn. A rather painful lesson when you’ve gone on a joy ride when your folks were in Florida on vacation and you did NOT know they wrote down the mileage and you said you just started it so it wouldn’t get too cold and you thought that was good for cars and no I didn’t actually drive away in it and, wait, what was the question?
- How to eat a meal without letting your teeth hit the fork because that drives them insane….as a people
- How to bait a hook without puking
And, they gave these straight-forward life lessons as impatiently and with a level of irritation normally reserved for much more heinous violations. Like terrorist attacks.
The biggest gift here though is bestowing upon us the opportunity to recount these lessons while impersonating them at every Christmas gathering for the rest of our lives.
Modern fathers still need to do all of the above. After all, I still know how to gut a fish, even if I don’t do it all that often.
(Though I have been sorely tempted on more than one occasion to reenact the fish gutting scene from Office Space. If I ever do, I will have my father to thank for the precise way in which I gut aforementioned fish.)
But, in addition to these lessons, they are now expected to look their kids in the eye in order to give them their full attention. They are expected to listen to their weird little stories that really don’t end up with a point. They have to at least pretend to laugh at their jokes that make absolutely no sense, have no comedic timing and an utter lack of irony.
So, hat’s off to you, modern day Dads.
Champions of childhood.
Protector of our prodigy.
Subjugator of our spawn.
We lift our collective glasses of chilled Chardonnay to you. Please keep teaching them weird stuff that would never even occur to a Mom (myself included).
And continue to bestow upon many generations the gift of mocking you at family functions. That gift alone is priceless.