I read lifestyle pieces because I can't help myself. Sometimes they're interesting, sometimes they irritate me and I can't stop thinking about them for days at a time. Which then leads to me to rant to my boyfriend and/or friends about it. This week it's Lizzy Wurtzel's piece in the Atlantic Monthly (here). It was mostly irritating with some interesting statistics thrown in which kept me reading until the last drop of irritation.
What she left out of this piece, and it feels like so many of these pieces do leave out, is the men who want to be dads and are great dads. They find stats about men not helping around the household, why men suddenly decide that they want to be fathers, why men don't understand women's intelligence or struggle, why men leave women at age 45, etc. etc. etc.
They never seem to include people like my Dad in it. My Dad was around a lot, he took me with him on weekends everywhere from the Home Depot to expo conventions to the grocery store...and the usual stop at the Dunkin Donuts along the way. I've traveled with my Dad to other countries and he's been listed as my emergency contact number just as often as my mother's number has been. He picks up my epilepsy medication when I can't get to the pharmacy and he sends me funny emails and cards.
He took me and picked me up from ballet lessons for years and tried, (hilariously), to attach the hair pieces that come with ballet outfits to my short boycut hair with bobby pins and hair spray. It really couldn't be done but he tried to do it despite the surprised and puzzled looks from the other mothers. He knew my ballet teacher and sat there and would congratulate me after ballet lessons, even when I really had nothing approximating the talent of any contestant on "America's Got Talent".
I knew I was lucky and years later I still know just how lucky I am to have had a father like I did.
My boyfriend was talking to a friend of mine about how he cooks a lot at home. She said, while laughing, "Sounds like you're going to be a stay-at-home Dad". I know she didn't intend it to sound mocking, but I winced at the tone she said it. But he just shrugged and said, "I'd be okay with that. As long as she just feeds me grapes while bringing in the big bucks."
Later, a neighbor we'd never seen before had a little poodle run up to us. I started petting it and the woman turned to my boyfriend and said, "Oh no, now she's going to want a dog." To which I replied, "well...actually...he's the one who really wants the dog." He just shrugged and said, "Yea, it's true."
So this is to the men like my Dad, who are open about the fact that they want to have kids, that they'll be there for them and that they're not above buying hair spray and bobby pins and trying to figure out how they work in tandem.
Here's a toast to to my Dad. Happy Father's Day. You taught me so many things but most importantly, that there are good men out there who really care and who will try to figure out how to braid their daughter's hair.
Your very grateful daughter