Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Father's Day, Family Reunions, and Other F'in Things....

So Father's Day was this last Sunday (duh.) It was an interesting experience; never having been rewarded on a holiday for anything not related to my birth, a religion, or an educational feat. Just kinda "Hey, you're a dad now, so woot, here you go."


And that's that. Presents were odd, too. I don't mean odd in the "Hey look, you got a singing fish for your wall" odd, just a category of present I've never gotten before. I got largely functionally useless, highly sentimental stuff. And like many other things relating to Dad-dom, no one ever explained this phenomenon to me, so I was caught by surprise. You, however, poor schlub-of-a-guy, get the skinny. Most dudes always mock the dad on Father's day. He gets socks, lame pictures of bubble-headed people, maybe a tie. Poor bastard, that's your reward for diapers and driving lessons? Better you than me, lameass.

Here's the thing: Yesterday, I got a mug with Lucas's picture on it. BIG-ass mug. Never used a mug that size before in my life. Probably never will. Got a picture of me holding kiddo in a nice frame. Got a little plaque thing of Lucas's birth info and some pictures. Functionally, none of this stuff has any value to a highly functional dude. At that point, I was bemused and pleased. Felt kinda sheepish. Then I unearthed the "grand finale" present, as it were. The humdinger. It was a picture book - pictures of me and kiddo, from the day he was born. Under them, Amy had selected quotes she thought I would like, and I have to admit, she did one first-class job. I'll completely deny showing any emotion about all this - 'cause, y'know, I'm a dude, and I only cry when John Wayne dies, yo - but it was one hell of a gesture. Then I realized what all the dads who blushed and grinned and hemmed and hawwed were really blushing about: not that they'd gotten those "lameass" gifts.

That, well, they really kinda like 'em. Those gifts are a reminder of a sentiment: YOU ARE DAD. And for most guys, that's kind of a "Well..uh...damn. Cool. Check that out" kind of mindset. Here you are with this really cool, hard, demanding, sometimes rewarding job - and Father's Day is basically the ultimate affirmation that you sir, DO NOT SUCK, at this dad thing. No dad will ever admit to their child that they wonder about this question, but every dad, from dad-of-newborn to dad-of-high-school-student, wonders about this question, and wonders about it frequently. "Do I suck at this dad thing?" Father's Day is the big clue-in that you are doing something right. Now I know why moms push the kids to make those cheesy pictures on Father's day. Take the time, make the fuss - Dads need to hear "You don't suck at this" once in awhile. If I'm any indication - and I may or may not be - we don't really know for sure, and it's never a bad thing to hear.

So, relative of Amy's getting married in a few days. Eh, fine, whatever, marriage is good - but it means we're taking the dog and the kid (seven weeks short two days) on a 10 hour roadtrip. Dog's done the trip before - wasn't thrilled, but weathered it well. I do wonder how she'll feel about her movement space cut by a third with the baby seat in the back, but not much to be done about it. Going ten hours with the lil' dude should be interesting, though. More interesting will be the far side of the trip. See, Amy's extended family has never met me. (They should consider themselves lucky, sez me.) I not being the most social critter you'll ever meet has never found this to be a particularly big loss. Amy's excited, though. She wants to show off both the hubby (slumming? You decide) and the kid. I figure I'll use the kid as a personal defense device to avoid conversation and just smile a lot. She's very proud of both. I'm obviously very proud of my kiddo, but it's more of a quiet pride - which for me is a bit odd, I guess. I'm usually quite loud about those things which I feel pride in when the occasion strikes, but my kid just makes me want to smile and keep it to myself. Not really sure why.

The trip itself makes me grumble and scowl, but that's not unusual. The only part that actually worries me a little is that I'll be taking the trip back sans wife and child - they're staying in NM longer than I am. It occurs to me that I've actually never been away from the kiddo for any extended period of time - a standard workday being the longest. Not really terribly keen on that, and I suspect I'm going to start feeling it a bit profoundly by the time they return. Normally I savor the peace and quiet of Amy's trips home; don't get me wrong, I love my wife, but I've still got a pretty antisocial hermit nature that has to be satisfied once or twice a year. Now, I suspect the lack of random sighs, sneezes, coos, gurgles, and fusses will probably make the house seem downright creepy. I still very much do my own things, but I'm used to a certain soundtrack now that might be missing. More of that "parenthood taming the man" kinda thing, I suppose.

Eh. Whatever. I'll still throw a party, scratch myself, and generally stay up too late and too loud while they're gone. If you're local, c'mon down. :P

-MT out

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