I Embarrass You Because I Love You

Happy Father's Day 2012
My latest article for Northside Woman.....
On Dads and Denial by Amy M. Dawson
            I remember the day (middle of the night) we had our first baby (only I got stitches) and thinking "heisgoingtobethebestdad" (God bless valium.) Even in my pharmaceutically-enhanced state I knew my husband would be an amazing dad, and was well on my way to forgiving him for the egregious time lapse between "this hurts" and the epidural.
            He has more than lived up to expectations. He paraded our daughters around like blue-ribbon prize winners at the county fair, boasting about everything from excellent APGAR scores (seriously) to their superior abilities at things like growing and sleeping.
When they were little, he would whip them into a frenzy with loud caterwauling and wrestling matches (right before bedtime, natch.) He’d tell them stories about Russell R., a fictional child deviant known for things like exploding double-decker nachos onto his teacher, that left them collapsed from fits of laughter.
His fan base increased exponentially over the years. At Halloween he is in full costume, playing pranks so realistic there are kids who believe a werewolf resides in our basement (which would explain the state of our storage room.) He is routinely invited to children’s birthday parties.
But as the girls have gotten older, if the guy so much as sneezes they tell him to quit making weird noises. “That’s awkward, dad,” is a constant refrain. One was in tears because he was dancing at our neighborhood pool. (He maintains he was simply applying sunscreen while LMFAO played in the background.)
He has adjusted from being top dog to being a social liability with impressive stoicism. By that I mean he regularly threatens to choreograph a flash mob during their next school event and gives all their friends goofy nicknames.
            Our daughters do not approve of this behavior, and he’s okay with that. He knows one day they will look back and be grateful their dad loved them wildly and unconditionally, even through their tumultuous teen years. They’ll realize by not taking their threats to disown him too seriously, he helped them build their self esteem, even as they made every attempt to eviscerate his soul. That is, begging him to stop dancing poolside.
This Father's Day, I hope all dads give their children the gift of teaching them to approve of themselves, no matter what other people think. Because believing in yourself is what gives us the strength to say yes to what’s right and no to what’s wrong. Surviving your parents’ ever-creative ways of threatening to ruin your social standing builds character, but knowing you have your parents’ approval is a powerful, lasting thing.
I’m signing off before I start quoting Whitney Houston songs, but to all you dads with easily embarrassed teens, hang tough. They’ll thank you one day. Though probably not for dancing at the pool.
Amy M. Dawson is an Atlanta-based writer who remains grateful she didn’t stab her husband in the delivery room before the drugs kicked in. Read more at amymacwrites.com.
The above photo was taken on Oct. 28, 1999 at dark o'clock, moments after our first daughter was born. Jake is clearly elated. I was in a drug-induced coma, but when I regained consciousness was equally thrilled with our (obviously) perfect newborn baby.

1 comment:

Joe McCormick said...

Amy, Missy forwarded this to me, and said it reminded her of her childhood. There are so many irresponsible dads in the world...thanks for elevating the status of "good dads." I know you know what you're talking about.

Love you,
(Uncle) Joe