And then there’s being a Dad.
Sometimes I wonder what the girls will say when they’re grown, and they look back at my performance as a Dad.
“Left a little bit to be desired there, Dad,” they might say.
“Hey, I did the best I could given my limitations as a human being,” I might insist.
“Sure Dad,” E will say. “But what about the broom?”
Came home one night after they’d been with a babysitter. They’re always a little worked up after babysitters. Probably because they get a sense of how great the world would be without any rules. And then I come along and re-impose rules on their universe.
So this one night I’m keeping my cool, and they will. Not. Do. A. Single thing I say.
Parents sometimes wonder why they’re perfectly calm one minute and a raving lunatic the next. One explanation offered is that it’s because the kids are getting under your skin, but you’ve got your foot on the brake keeping yourself calm, right up until the point that they’re painting the dog and putting the cat in the oven, and then, attempting to save your prize rhododendron from the microwave, you take your foot off the brake, but the other foot has been on the gas all along and suddenly you’re zero to a hundred and twenty in a split second.
That was me that night. Doing my best to remain calm in the face of two completely adorable but utterly out of control orangutangs, and failing miserably.
I’d had enough. I took my foot off the brake. Picked up one of the girl’s toy brooms. Threw the broom on the floor. As God is my witness I thought it would bounce. Instead it shattered into a thousand pieces.
I had the girls’ attention now. But I certainly hadn’t improved the situation any. Man were they mad, especially E, because it was her broom I’d broken. She was inconsolable, and I was ashamed, because this was not me. I was not someone who broke kids’ brooms, or lost control.
And I heard about that broom for months. I’m sure when they’re adults I’ll hear about it again. I won’t be completely forgiven until the girls have children of their own, and discover that they too are only human.
Just as I’ve forgiven my own parents for the odd bonehead move they made when I was a kid.
Now if I can just limit my own bonehead moves to the broom for the next nine years…
June 16, 2009