Saturday, December 25, 2010

(Father) Christmas Past, Present, and Future

Daisy, Beast, Fire, and I are all spending Christmas at my dad and Step mom’s home. My sister, brother-in-law, and their three boys are here as well. The packages have all been opened, the food has been eaten, alcohol has been consumed, movies have been watched, toys have been assembled, the internet has been browsed and couch naps have been taken.

Just as the coffee was being brewed and kitchen snacking on fudge and cookies had been restored to life, my father began to reminisce on Christmas past. He noted a particular Christmas when my sister had become a recent Madonna convert and was listening to, “Papa don’t preach”. Evidently this was bothersome to my father and he had remembered it for all of these years. Perchance it was the idea of teen pregnancy or that Madonna was talking to her father in a commanding tone that appeared to be disrespectful. Hell, maybe she played it too loud or too often. Whatever the case, dad was annoyed back then and I was currently nervous. Why?

Well let’s move on to my very own Christmas present, except let’s make it yesterday. Daisy and I went to the Christmas Eve service at church. Y’know the Christmas Eve services that are offered five times throughout the day? Y’know the Christmas Eve services where people show up a half an hour early and save seats for the whole damn pew by laying jackets and purses down? Yeah, the family comes 15 minutes late and, oops, Jack and his 5 kids aren’t able to come so now the pew is have full and the balcony is crammed so people are sitting in folding chairs and everyone around the, “HEY, these seats are saved!” lady are pissed but trying as hard as they can to still praise the baby Jesus as nicely as possible.

Because what the “saving the seats” people did was put us directly behind the head pastor with our kids who do not always behave in a godly manner. After Fire yelled, “Jesus in a manger? That’s silly!” for the pastor and half the sanctuary to hear (including the “saving the seats” lady who gasped in horror) I took him, kicking and screaming, to child watch. After Fire was contained I had to walk the aisle of shame back to my seat at the front of the church.

I was a bit of a grumpy dad so when I saw a young child with a ponytail sticking out of a shaved head I was, well, annoyed. What are those parents thinking? How could that kid think that haircut is cool? I wonder if he would still want that ponytail after I swung him around by it for a half an hour? Then I stopped. Uh oh.

Right around the time my dad was annoyed by my sister’s music I had bangs that went down to my chin, hair on the back of my head long enough to be braided, the sides of my head shaved to the skin, and a cross my dad constantly threatened to rip out, dangling from my pierced ear.

Now let’s move to my Christmas future. Am I going to make excuses to the family for Beast’s blue hair or Fire’s midriff? Probably. No! Probably not. No! Never, they are just teenagers finding their independence. Ugh, but what if it is a reflection of the internal evil I did nothing to stop? How can this be so difficult? How was my dad to know that after my sister listened to, “Like a Virgin” it didn’t mean she was days away from losing her own flower which would eventually lead to her saying, “Papa Don’t Preach” to him?

I guess I can just love them no matter what. Ultimately, I think that is what the baby Jesus would want.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

(Father) Awkward Pregnancy Photos

Our internet was down for the past couple of days so I was unable to post. You might say, "Yes, but couldn't you have pasted from a Word document?" My answer is, "That's a good point. I should have thought of that."

In lieu of an absent post I want to share with you some beautiful photos provided by The Pregnant Chicken blog.

Here is a sample.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

(Father) Treasure Trash

About ten years ago I was working with Developmentally Disabled adults.  Most of my job consisted of taking 5-10 of them out into the community to free events (tight budget) or just relaxing in the park.  There  were times when one of us would have to stay at the resource center and "Mama" was usually one of them.  Mama was a 75 year old woman who needed a steady stream of oxygen and shuffled along with the assistance of a walker.  We called her Mama because she was absolutely in love with babies (any child under ten).  You could never see a happier woman when she would see children.  She would turn to one of us and smile with a toothless grin, point, and say, "Babies!" 

But Mama had a grouchy side that was unleashed on anyone who dared touch the collection of papers stuffed into the front pouch of her walker.  If one had "lost" their craft for the day we would know exactly where it was.  Many times our daily newspaper had reached her front pouch before anyone had even taken it out of the blue plastic wrapping.

When Mama's front pocket became full we had to distract her and pull as many papers out as we could without there being so much of a difference she would notice.  Otherwise this 75 year old woman would be overturning garbage cans.

I thought of Mama the other day and I'm sure you will see why.  Fire and I were collecting trash from around the house.  We were having a lot of fun until we overturned one particular garbage can into the trash bag.  We stopped talking and stared at what had just fallen out.  Those precious colorful drawings made from the blood, sweat, and tears of our children.  The colorful drawings that were made "just for you" and they "worked really hard on".  The colorful drawings you see them make with a furrowed brow reflecting steady concentration.  The colorful drawings they presented to you with bated breath.  Waiting, and hoping, for praise and admiration regrading the fruit of their labor.   Like an innocent little sponge they soaked in the acceptance of their work from idealized parents and asked we keep it on the fridge "forever".

In that moment in time the world stood still as he processed the fact "forever", for adults, translates into 7 days.  There was no way to hide it.  I had stuffed these precious items to the bottom of the trash.  Well, the bottom becomes the top pretty quickly and the evidence was plain to see.  Fire looked up at me with a concerned look, "Oh! Why in da bottom of garbage".  I lied.

"How did that get in there?" I said.  I have to admit that if pressed further I would have blamed Daisy.

"We take it out!" said Fire as he began collecting the pile of papers that had once been trash.  The guilt inside of me for not only throwing them away, but also lying about it, prompted me to repeat the praises of each item as they were removed  from the pile.  It was like reliving old times with Mama.  At least Fire didn't have a walker to throw at me.