Saturday, December 14, 2013

Without Mommy

To my son Tommy,

I have perpetuated the bumbling father stereotype before.  For the most part this is an act played by an evil genius used for my nefarious purpose to lower people's (mommy included) expectations and to avoid work. Drop and break a couple dishes, no one asks you to do dishes anymore.  Get the picture?  To be certain, many fathers do this and I risk losing my "man license" by exposing the secret that our ineptitude is an elaborate scheme.  Occasionally though I do find myself in uncharted territory and not as confident in my fatherly abilities but like Gunnery Sergeant Highway says we "Improvise. Adapt. Overcome."

It is just you and me today.  Your mommy is still in the hospital and will be for the next week or more.  The Baltimore weather forecasters are all calling for snow in various amounts which, when they can't agree, most likely means an impending blizzard.  When you woke up this morning, you complained of a tummy ache, an area of life that usually falls to the soon to be nurse in our life, aka Mommy!

I checked the normal culprits.  No fever.  You don't have to poop, or so you say.  Can't even get you to eat, in case it is lack of food that is causing tummy pain.  So what is a father to do?  Well dishes and clean up the house of course.  And blog of course.

I learned, from watching the older relatives in my life, that when you don't know what to do in any situation, you do what you know how to do.  When grief or sorrow would enter our lives when I was a child, I would see people start cleaning and/or start baking and/or start cooking and/or do fix up projects and /or clean out cars and other auto maintenance and/or even pull out a deck of cards for a pinochle game.  It confounded me in my youth and seemed such an unnatural response.  So and so is sick so lets clean the living room.  So and so just passed so time to bake a pie.  So and so is heart broken so let me make sure the oil is changed on the car.

Now I know, it is a healthy combination of denial and the attempt to not feel useless.  Your tummy might be upset, and I wish I could magically make it feel better but I can't.  So at least the dishwasher is run and the kitchen sink sanitized with Lysol.  I wish I could cheer you up, but a stomach ache is going to trump any direct attempts.  So at least you will have a clean living room to look at.  Dirty dishes and general disarray contribute to bad feelings in both of us, so why not fix or do what I know I can do.  I wish I could convince you how important it is to poop and/or eat right now but at least it will be documented and maybe stop you from moving from inept father to "overreacting time to run to the hospital for a simple tummy ache" father sometime in the future.

Of course as I was writing this blog, and expounding on the virtues of a good BM to fix most things, you ran off to the bathroom for a potty.  You asked for privacy as you shut the door swearing to me it is only pee time.  A couple minutes later, from the bathroom I hear this, "Wow! Daddy come look at this big poopie!" Ahh, that's my boy!  Amazed at his own creations and always willing to share.  You are in much better spirits and perhaps we are passed this whole bellyache thing, and I know it is all due to me blogging, and straightening, and running the dishwasher.  It had nothing to do with nature and expelling the two foot brown demon from your body by way of the potty.  Nope, definitely the dishwasher.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

P.S.  It is a good thing that among the things I know how to do, among those things I have learned from my younger days, there exists the skills of catching puke with my hands and cleaning up vomit out of carpet and doing laundry.  Evidently the dishwasher was not the cure all I thought it would be.

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