This morning was like lots of mornings in my house. Kids and wife in their own worlds, quickly eating breakfast, prepping for what their busy lives have. Dog up barking to be let out the back door. Usually, I am at the gym while most of this stuff is happening but today I needed a ride to pick up my car so I was in the way a bit. I tried to be helpful, grabbing some laundry from the dryer so my youngest could find a pair of jeans, making a bagel and hash browns for them to eat, and annoying them with lots of questions.
Because I was home and made breakfast for them they were ready a couple minutes before they were to leave so we all got to sit on the couch and talk. We did the normal logistical talk. Who is picking them up from school, how they are getting to their respective practices and stuff like that. And then it happened, my heart was broken into little pieces.
I am responsible for picking up the youngest from school on Monday and Thursday. Her school is really close to our house. I mentioned that while it was still nice out, maybe I would, instead of working from home and rushing to pick her up that I would take a day off work and I could walk to pick her up and we could walk home together. I didn’t see the next part coming. My youngest paused and looked at my wife and the wife spoke up and said “No Way, don’t embarrass her like that”. To which, my oldest and youngest nodded their heads in approval, happy with the response my wife had just given. I said “What?” I had no clue what she meant by embarrassing her. The wife went on to explain that my daughter would be ruined and completely embarrassed if she had to walk home with her Dad in front of all the other kids at school. She was in 7th grade. Then my wife drove her point home with the question “Would you walk home with your Mom and Dad?” and I knew I was beaten.
But, I was completely heartbroken. I made a few statements about how I wasn’t uncool, about how my relationship with the kids is different. But, I was fighting a losing battle. I was just a regular everyday Dad at that moment. And the worst part for me, is that I DIDN’T KNOW IT. I spend all this time with the kids. I work really hard on being their Dad. I pay attention to them and I never ever saw this coming.
There’s a seen in the movie Goodfella’s where the main character is put in witness protection program and he says “Right after I got here I ordered some spaghetti with marinara sauce and I got egg noodles with ketchup. I’m an average nobody. I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook.”
That’s exactly how I felt this morning. All that work being the cool Dad and I just end up as a regular balding, embarrassing Dad to my kids. After all the fun times we had, I am still just their Dad. You can’t let your Dad be one of your friends. Your friends will think you are weird. And, as a kid, for the most part, all you are trying to do is navigate thru life without getting embarrassed.
I can’t believe I didn’t see it. I can’t believe I didn’t know that walking my daughter home from school would be a catastrophic event in her life. I try to be completely in tune with whatever is going on in their lives, but I never saw this coming, or if I did I must have ignored it because I thought I would never be uncool. I do remember for sure thinking my parents were complete weirdo’s. I do remember doing everything in my power to have someone else’s parents pick me and my friends up from wherever we were hanging out. I do remember when I finally realized how awesome they were again, but that wasn’t till I was somewhere around 30 years old. Does that mean I have another 15-18 years of being “weirdo Dad”?
Just when I thought I was Uncle Jesse or even Uncle Joey I ended up being Danny Tanner.
Categories: Dad of girls