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  • Because My Dad Is All That And A Gourmet Cook Too

    December 20, 2006

    In 1965, I was in Mrs. Kelly’s afternoon kindergarten class at Wanless Elementary School. Because my parents were young and poor, my dad worked nights and my mom worked at a bank during the day. That meant that my dad had to look after me in the morning and get me to school.

    My dad has never changed a diaper or gotten involved in the care and feeding of his kids. Most men of his generation just didn’t interact with their kids like they do today and that’s a shame. But that’s just the way it was. In spite of his nearly queasy discomfort with childcare, he took care of me every school day for an entire year. He fixed my lunch, made sure I had on some kind of clothes and then took me to school in our beloved car that we called Clunker #2 (which was later replaced with Clunker #3).

    Every day before school, my dad boiled a hot dog, put it on a fork and served it up on a Correlle dinner plate garnished with a splotch of ketchup for dipping. I remember sitting at the kitchen table eating my hot dog in silence and watching my dad read the newspaper. He didn’t pay much attention to me, but I didn’t mind. Our relationship has always been about just hanging out.

    After lunch, he would stand me up on the bathroom sink and awkwardly try to wipe ketchup off my face as I flitted and twitched and fidgeted. 41 years later, I now understand the difficulty of this feat. Then in an exercise of futility, he would clumsily try to convince a comb through my unruly hair before we headed out the door for school.

    Looking back, my dad was a pretty sorry mom. He would be the first one to admit that. But I don’t remember it that way. I remember thinking he was a gourmet cook, even after hot dog #83. I remember sitting at the kitchen table and being fascinated with how his soft brown arm hair laid around his wrist watch. I remember sitting beside him on the front seat of Clunker #2 unable to see anything but the dashboard and bumping down North Grand on the way to school. But mostly, I just remember it as being a special time when it was just me and my dad.

    And that gives me hope. It gives me hope that Sean won’t remember my many failings and shortcomings and ineptitude as a parent. But that maybe 41 years from now, he will just remember these days as a special time in his life.


    1. Mariah says:

      Another beautiful tear jerker. You have captured, in your words, what I believe is the true essence of parenting. Being there. These days so many parents are not “there,” and that is so so sad. Oh, they are there. Some of them, anyway. They just aren’t really. Ya know?


      December 20th, 2006 at 3:21 am

    2. jeana says:

      I’ve been feeling a bit of this myself lately. Really good.

      December 20th, 2006 at 5:58 am

    3. Terri says:

      My daddy had my brother and me one Saturday all day. I don’t remember why because my family always did things together but on that Saturday that I remember, he took us to K-mart for banana splits for lunch. We didn’t die from malnutrition and had a great Daddy Day!

      December 20th, 2006 at 7:18 am

    4. Beck says:

      MM. Hot dogs. My dad was actually a stay-at-home dad with my younger brothers, but he was a 70s man.

      December 20th, 2006 at 7:22 am

    5. Shayne says:

      Once again I’m going to have to ask you to please PUBLISH.A.BOOK.

      I would buy it. And not only that, I would read it. A lot.

      Pleeeeeze?!? (Insert nasally whining here)

      December 20th, 2006 at 7:26 am

    6. Shalee says:

      Oh, I offer that prayer up daily to the Keeper of All Memories.

      Please, oh please, let them remember the times when I was the “good” mom and not the yelling mom I was just 5 minutes ago.

      And if they have to remember the moments I sucked, let them use it as a “what not to do” life lesson.

      December 20th, 2006 at 9:22 am

    7. Wendy Boucher says:

      Thanks. That was a nice post not to mention that it makes me feel better about serving Girlie hot dogs on Corelle plates (I really do!) for lunch. Luckily, that is not the only food in my repertoire.

      I really like reading about your childhood memories. I grew up in the exact same era and so it all rings true to me.

      December 20th, 2006 at 9:49 am

    8. Karla~Looking Towards Heaven says:

      wonderful wonderful post…

      oh how I pray for my kids to have sweet memories too…


      December 20th, 2006 at 10:21 am

    9. Christy in TN says:

      Nice. I just let out a sigh of relief … this parenting thing is going to be okay in the end no matter how inept I feel right now!

      December 20th, 2006 at 10:22 am

    10. Kacey says:

      I agree with Shayne. Take your blogs and get them bound and we’ll buy the book. I clicked on the link and read about your day with Sean and the wonderous stick. He is going to have wonderful memories of his days with alone with you. If you put them into a book — he can read them to you in the rest home when he is home from college.

      December 20th, 2006 at 11:59 am

    11. Heather says:

      How sweet! Sean is one lucky boy to have a Mom who looks at life in such a tender way and is trying to make his memories wonderful ones!

      December 20th, 2006 at 12:09 pm

    12. Mommy Dearest says:

      What precious memories. When I was in high school, my dad decided that we needed to eat a better breakfast so for a whole year he got up early and cooked eggs and toast for us. He is such a morning person – and I’m not – so it always irritated me when he was so happy, singing to get me out of bed. My mother would have never gotten up and cooked!

      December 20th, 2006 at 2:31 pm

    13. Elise says:

      Actual conversation in our kitchen last week.
      “Mama? From now on, you don’t even have to ask me to forgive you. I’ll just plan on it.”
      Um, thanks. Here, have another hot dog.
      (Hubby got beaned with my slipper for snickering around the corner, btw.)
      Great post!

      December 20th, 2006 at 4:48 pm

    14. Linda says:

      I think I can assure you that somehow -by God’s grace I’m sure – children have no memory when it comes to our failings. It amazes me and fills my heart with gratitude. I’ve apologized on several occassions to my grown children for the terrible mistakes I made as a Mom. They always look at me in bewilderment. “You’re a great Mom.” I’m not a great Mom, but God is so good.

      December 20th, 2006 at 5:52 pm

    15. Nicole says:

      That is the sweetest post. Dad stories do something to me. Thanks for sharing it. I think I’ll go call my Daddy now. Or maybe tomorrow. He’s probably in bed at the moment.

      I PRAY my kids remember me like you do your dad. THAT would be an AWESOME.

      December 20th, 2006 at 10:56 pm

    16. owlhaven says:

      I have strong memories of my dad’s hands too..

      Lovely story

      Mary, mom to many

      December 21st, 2006 at 12:04 am

    17. Stacey says:

      I love it! That was one of the best stories and it actually got me teary! I love a good Daddy/Daughter story : )

      December 21st, 2006 at 4:38 am

    18. SG says:

      In Kindergarten my Dad picked me up from school and took me to the baby sitter every week day during his lunch. We always ate fast food in the car which was a incredible treat! He let me pick a restraunt from three choices. I thought my Dad was the greatest and all my little friends were sooo jealous. Since I had a baby this summer,to help me and let the baby sleep in, my Dad takes my little boy to pre-school three days a week. He gets him 30 minutes early so they have time to drive through and get a Sausage biscuit or whatever else the 5 year old wants for breakfast. So gald he gets to have that special time with my Dad just like I did!

      December 22nd, 2006 at 1:18 am

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