Sunday, June 15, 2014

Not Quite the Last Father's Day But ...

My daughter goes off to college (or university as they say in Canada) this fall, so this day marks the last father's day with her at home.  She may be in the house for future father's days, but this is the last one where she is around all the time.  So, I am a bit more nostalgic than usual.  Baby Spew (geez, did she spew!)* became Kid Spew and then Teen Spew so very quickly.  I tried to tease her recently by singing Sunrise, Sunset but I forgot the words from the Oberlin community theater production long ago (I played many small roles, including an unsuccessful bottle dancer).
*  Actually, the most spewage was a tremendous nose bleed produced by bouncing from a bed to a table while we were traveling in New Mexico for a frisbee tournament.

To be honest, I did not enjoy the first few years of Fatherhood--not enough sleep, lots of stress, five ER visits over the first five years, keeping the peace between her and the dogs, lots of effort to keep the kid entertained in a town that was pretty bereft of fun places to go and was too hot for four months or so to hang out in day time.  And it started really, really hard with the "pin the IV on the dehydrated baby" game. That white thing on her head is the IV.  Good times.  Mary Poppins got us through Toddler Spew's surgery at age 2, which aided me later on when I taught Intro to IR and wrote about pie crust promises.  After the each year was better than the one before it.

Kid Spew was heaps of fun, as she explored a variety of interests and not quite settling for awhile: danced a bit, a season of softball in Virginia, one season of soccer, a couple of years of ultimate (which may come back in college).  She eventually, thanks to her mother mostly, found a strong interest in stories especially those on TV and in film as well as comic books. Teen Spew made a few short movies with the greatest challenges arising not from her skills but from her casts.  Friends and acquaintances turned out to be quite flaky when it came to keeping commitments.

Teen Spew also developed strong opinions about the world and educated herself well via the internet and elsewhere.  As a result, she has low tolerance of mansplaining (which makes some dinners more, um, interesting than others), discrimination, inequality and the like.  She has educated me on more than one occasion.

The good news is that we have a pretty good relationship if I do say so myself.  When people heard of our trips to check out colleges, they said "Great, you guys can bond."  Our confused response was: pretty sure we are bonded.  But the trips were still fun, we got to hang out with celebrities (sort of), do heaps of tourism, and eat lots of really good food.

Somehow, we managed to have a kid who works really hard (far harder than I did in middle school and high school) and is ambitious (film career? wow), creative, sweet, empathetic, passionate, compassionate, impatient (that's my contribution), bright, feisty, engaged, curious, and fun. 

Father's day is supposed to be about selling cards and cheesy gifts celebrating the dad.  However, I cannot help on this particular one but to celebrate my daughter.  I will always be her father, but we will probably never be as close as we are right now.  Sure, I will be able post on (and embarrass) her facebook page and nag her through the internet, but it will not be the same.  So, despite no breakfast in bed (really, no thanks), I am embracing this Father's Day like none other. 

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