Sunday, June 17, 2012

What is Father's Day Without the Irony?

Last year on Mother's Day, my baby girl, who learned to walk only weeks prior, fell down the stairs in our home. I was so proud on that day, until I wasn’t. It was as if the loud thumping of her new Asters ( hitting each hardwood step on the way down was in protest to the whole day, which had been set aside to honor mothers across the globe. Obviously the next day we installed a safety gate at the top of the stairs.

This year on Father's Day I found some irony (tell me if you agree) when our (5-month-old) car ran out of gas on our way to brunch with two generations of fathers manning the controls and two babies (plus me, mom) in the backseat. Obviously the lesson learned from this is just too obvious to print...

Again today, I was teaching my diaper-wearing 2.3 year old about using the potty and wearing underwear and pulling down the underwear and peeing in the potty when … she peed on the couch. She was curled on her back in her white dress with no bloomers, legs splayed in the air, fingers gripped around her toes, when her face turned to a stunned look and I heard hard liquid hitting the leather couch. The flow made a tiny gushing noise as it carved out a path between the cushions. Was this some cry for attention; some deliberate means of communication? Never has her diaper failed and never was there a more timely opportunity. Here I am thinking she doesn’t ever listen to me so what do I always go on about; well not only was she listening but she was demonstrating her comprehension and then some... Obviously potty training is to commence immediately. (And hopefully the “Queen of Potty Training” is accurate when promising us a three-day turn-around… (find Lora Jensen’s method at )

Then again today, another story of irony… I was at the playground with my baby and toddler talking to a neighborhood mom of twins about how difficult it is to watch two children at the city playground; how they run off in different directions; how we have learned better than to bring a handbag that also needs minding (lest we allow the Gucci or Goyard to divert our watchful eyes from their primary focal point, the children). All this discussion around how much we’ve learned when abruptly a twin disappeared. She had been on the large play structure, until she was not. Her mother was calm, until she was not. Five seconds passed and the mother asked me to stay with her son because she couldn’t see her daughter. She darted in one direction and then another. I screamed her daughter’s name out loud. Two other mothers in the park spanned out to look for a little girl with tiny braids and a shirt of I don’t remember what color. The further the mother ran in one direction the more I trained my eyes in the opposite direction. Until slowly, like a timid deer hesitating at a sunny clearing in the forest, I could see the little girl emerge from the bushes near the church and clamber back to the play structure where she had last been seen. Obviously I will try not to get lost in deep conversation while minding my children in a large, open public space.

I don’t know what are supposed to be the lessons here from these ironic incidents on important parenting days but something is being received; they do seem to make me a better parent; or at least a more experienced parent... or maybe I am just paying heightened attention on these days... One thing I know is that the terror, then relief, then embarrassment that follows these incidents are feelings only good parents experience; and are only one fraction of one reason why the good people of old created a day for mothers and fathers; to recognize and respect the daily toils of parenting. 

To that I say thanks for the recognition and a big loving thanks to all the diaper-bag-toting; Baby-Bjorn-wearing; sacrificing; juggling; doting; playful dads out there – Happy Father's Day!
  • Two Father’s Day blog articles I definitely enjoyed:

  •   For an interesting history of Father's Day, read on from here:

Father's Day is a celebration of fathers inaugurated in the United States in the early twentieth century to complement Mother's Day in celebrating fatherhood and male parenting.

Father's Day was founded in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was born in Arkansas.[3] Its first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910.[3][4] Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children there. ('s_Day)

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