Monday, June 18, 2007

Father's Day

I fully intended to post yesterday about Father's Day. I was sitting in church listening to the sermon and simultaneously working out phrases and memories in my head about my experiences as a dad.

Typically, I was going to put together something that was halfway between true memories and Hallmark treacle.

But . . . as the day wore on, I just couldn't get myself to sit down in front of the screen and type something. It seems like much more fun to do other stuff, or to do nothing at all (as long as I could get away with it). So, day turned into night and I found myself with nothing typed to show for a Father's Day.

But, I did talk to my dad on the phone yesterday and I committed the fatal flaw that I have committed several times in the past year and a half that has encompassed my Work Project From Hell. I got comfortable; I got relaxed; I actually said on the phone that I felt good, and happy.

So, Monday comes and the bottom drops out from under me once again.

You don't need the details, I don't need to think about them, and probably, a week from now it'll all be different--either because I have gotten over the anxiety and am back to being numb, or because we've found a way to struggle through the mess and everything seems somewhat possible again. So, why bother worrying.

It just boils down to ramping up the anxiety again, beating myself up internally again, and wondering when (God WHEN?) will it ever come to an end?

But, Father's Day.

Being a father (or a Dad, as I hope to be . . . if you understand the distinction) is more than Hallmark sentiments. It's coming home from a day like today and being the only adult (because your wife is having her own late night at the office). It's cobbling together something that resembles healthy food from two or three leftover meals in the refrigerator. It's eating the disappointing meal, and being glad that the kids ate MOST of it (especially the vegetable, thank goodness) and then cleaning up the kitchen while simultaneously trying to be Disney music DJ to one daughter and promising the other that "Yes, for the fifteenth time, we WILL play Blue Shoe, Blue Shoe, Who's It? Not You!"--whatever that game happens to be.

Being a dad means getting baths when you back hurts and kneeling down beside the tub on your knees is not at all pleasant. Being a dad means playing School with the girls when all you really feel like doing is laying down in a dark room and sleeping to forget everything that went wrong today . . . and trying just a little bit not to let that depression, anxiety, and frustration show in your face while you think about the several hours of work you really ought to do this evening once they are in bed.

That's what being a dad meant to me today. Tomorrow or the next day, it'll be Lynda's turn to go through this. Because, being a mom isn't different than being a dad. Being a working parent is what this is. Gendered rules need not apply here.

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