The nonchalantdad confession
I'm not going to pretend I'm perfect. The important thing is I try everyday to
be a good father. I suppose if there were some type of scale to measure such
things I'd rate somewhere in the upper half. But, everyone has that type of day
that begins as if someone has tied a large stone on your back - where not even
a good cup of tea or a large coffee can illuminate better possibilities.
In our home, it is inevitable that there is a rush to get our little guy to school on
time in the morning. Often, you are out the door before you've had any chance to
gather a thought. It's a victory of sorts just to be wearing trousers as you exit. On this particular morning it was quite the opposite - my head
was swimming with information, most of it mildly irritating or partially worrisome.
I shuffled my son out the door in front of me. He had his lunchbox in hand as well
as a few small toys he thought his classmates would enjoy seeing - especially the red PowerRanger figurine. He felt that this time he'd be able to persuade his teachers that it was acceptable. Somewhere during our 5 minute drive to school I'd persuade him otherwise - which was the usual.
After getting his seatbelt on I jumped into the drivers seat and started the engine
hurriedly. We had about 4 minutes to get to school. While reversing the car in the
driveway I also adjusted the rearview mirror and for an instant my son and I made eye contact. A moment later, breaking our silence, he spoke: "Daddy, why
are you mad?" I didn't think I was mad. I asked him in return, "Why do you think
I'm mad?" He pointed out to me that my brow made it look like I was angry. Not knowing the word brow as yet, he put it more succinctly: "Your eye hairs look pointy." I can assure you I was not angry. And I assured him of the same thing. Perhaps I was mentally foggy, or lost in thought, maybe even a little crazy - but
I was not angry. Not, at least, with him. My own self...well... that was another matter.
I had much on my mind, as many parents do. Being 5 years old I knew that his world had yet to become subtly complicated. Nonetheless, I wondered quickly what
he might say if I did confess to him what was on my mind that morning. Afterall, it couldn't hurt to see if he had even the smallest understanding - sometimes children can amaze you with their insights. And, what the heck, at 8:57 am on a
Monday morning, the possibility of a little free therapy might just do the trick.
So, over the next minute while he quietly sat behind me in the car holding his
red PowerRanger, I laid out all the garbage that was swimming through my mind.
One by one I listed the floating topics. I told him daddy was trying to remember
where he put his daily journal because he needed an important number to call, something that would definitely go a long way in helping to pay the mortgage for
that month. Consequently, this made me remember that I was supposed to have
called London before I left the house, which of course I did not do. Then there was
the issue of who was going to watch our small daughter, his little sister, this afternoon - I had forgotten to discuss this with my wife which made me realize I
had forgotten my cell phone at home, which of course I had neglected to plug in
last night anyhow - in order to recharge the batteries. The thought of batteries made me realize that
my car was due at the mechanics. I had made no alternative plans for replacement transport. No transport meant no chance of that meeting at 9:30 am. And no phone meant no way to warn the person I was meeting with that I would
not be showing up on time. And, insult to injury, I did not put on my wrist watch -
which meant it was perhaps laying on top of my daily journal, the one I couldn't find in the first place. Things weren't looking good for the start of my day and it
was only just dawning on me. Perhaps, I offered, this is why daddy's eye hairs
looked so damned pointy. It was now 8:58 am and I had finished my little diatribe. We were coming to the exit for his school and suddenly the car was quiet again. I
glanced in the rear view mirror to see that his head was down, as if in deep contemplation - he was staring at the red PowerRanger figurine.
It was another minute, I suppose, before he would level his clear insight on the
matter. By now we were pulling into his school entrance with only a minute or
less to spare. "Well son," I said, "do you have anything to say about what I just
confessed?" He looked up at me as we came to a stop and I could see in the mirror that his eyes were clear. He said in the most firm voice, holding up his red PowerRanger for me to see by way of visual example: "Daddy, I think I like the GREEN PowerRanger more than the RED PowerRanger."
And with that, he jumped out of his seat, came around the side of the car where
we kissed and then he disappeared into the school to his waiting teacher inside the door - who also looked as though her eye hairs were pointy too. I couldn't be sure of it though.