Friday, June 8, 2007

Honorary Dad

It's not a title I want, but today I was an honorary father at my daughter's class Father's Day celebration. It was actually quite a bit of fun: some kite flying, various games involving balls, board games, and the presentation of a decorated toolbox (including decorated water bottle, sponge, and a flashlight, which my daughter informed me she was "only pretending" to give to me, "because I need to keep that, Mama, to find things hiding under our beds." Okay) The Dads were generally nicer and easier to chat with than the other mothers, who seem to come in two varieties: the brittle, tanned, perfectly-groomed real-estate types and the not-quite-but-very-nearly-redneck variety, who tend to congregate together.

I managed to assemble our cheap kite with a little help from a nearby dad, was only asked once, point-blank, why I was there, when I was clearly NOT a father, and even managed to get the kite up in the air for several runs. I also got far more exercise than I had planned on, but not enough to offset the horrific McD's pancake breakfasts we took (I know, I should have gotten up and prepared us a fruit platter, but "BYOBreakfast" is tough in a town without a decent bagel place). And yes, for those of you who are counting, I have now had 2 breakfasts from the epitome of American obesity, culinary turpitude, and cardboard convenience in the past several months. More than I had purchased from there in the past 20 years, I think. That's life in a blue-collar town for you.

But, of course, the whole event was tinged by great sadness. My husband would have enjoyed putting together the kite, and he would have been able to explain how to keep it aloft. He would have played well with the other dads, and taken great delight in the fact that my daughter's current friends are mostly boys, with whom she plays "builder" and "trains," rather than the sissified girls who dominate her class. He would have loved using the water bottle at work, and the toolbox for something important. And she is so clearly starved for male attention; we have some terrific male friends who are great with her, but it's not the same as that steady assurance of a father's love and care. She gravitates to other kids' fathers so quickly that it breaks my heart. It doesn't help that both of her grandfathers are, well....distant--if not geographically, then emotionally. Or both.

Dammit. It's so unfair--to her, to him, and to me, although today, for once, I was more upset for the two of them and what they lost than for myself.


At 6:24 AM , Blogger Snickollet said...

I've been dreading Father's Day. Luckily my stepdad and mom will arrive on Father's Day to spend a week with us. Hopefully that will help.

Unfair is right. I'm tired and without much of anything to say but that I'm sorry. So sorry.

At 6:50 AM , Blogger Julia said...

It stinks and it's unfair.
I am sorry.

At 9:23 AM , Anonymous Mme X said...

Oh honey. I'm so sorry. Thinking of all three of you very much.

At 8:54 PM , Blogger A said...

I've been reading your blog for a few weeks now, and this post made me realize why I keep coming back. My father died when I was young, and I have resented father's day ever since. Especially the 'father-daughter' school events. I just want to say thank you, on behalf of your daughter, for going anyway and facing the person who wondered why you were there, and for flying that kite. I'm sorry for your loss, but I am sure that someday your daughter will appreciate your presence at these events.

At 8:16 AM , Anonymous VirusHead said...

I love that you were an honorary dad, but I'm really sorry for the difficulty. Hugs. Remember that your daughter is lucky that you are there for you. Some dads are there, but not there.

At 5:07 PM , Blogger OTRgirl said...

Sigh. As others have said already, I'm so glad you were there, but sad that he couldn't be.

At 11:58 AM , Blogger bg's Little Sis said...


At 2:08 PM , Blogger Yankee T said...

Shit. I'm sorry. My kids always had to have honorary fathers, too, but obviously not for reasons of loss. Even without the loss, it was difficult for them at times. But your situation and Snick's are so hard. Shit.


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