Monday, June 16, 2014

father's day 2014, lubbock tx

the sun has gone down on father's day 2014, and i have to say, with ten kids now i have a certain status here, but it doesn't seem right to push it around as so many people are so uncomfortable about the whole thing. i watched on facebook as hundreds of my friends posted pictures of their fathers, or them with their fathers, but also, at least one person said, "h.f.d. to the women who are doing that role" as if, if you have to do the discipline, and make the money, and mow the lawn, in the family, well, happy father's day to you too.

i felt like saying, h.f.d. to all the fathers who are doing all kinds of roles, all the fathers who are doing those roles only part of the time, and even the fathers who can do no more than watch a ball game with their kids, because they just don't have all that many good ideas about what to do.

i myself have been spending a lot of time swimming, until i've been sunburned up and down, and my kids have turned a dark chocolate color from hours in the pool. they're fabulous swimmers; they practically own the place. the older ones were trying to do laps today, but aren't really ready for that; the youngest, who is not even 40 pounds, goes flipping and bobbing through the river giving me a heart attack but always coming up for air. i figured out today, that starting in october, we would have 13 years of parenting teenagers, but that means that this last little stretch, of about five months, i should enjoy to its fullest, as the last four are still under thirteen and have plenty of growing to do.

friday night, it was actually friday the 13th, i guess...my first full gig with the new band 'true blue.' a mexican restaurant out on the north side of town, out by the airport, with good food but i was too nervous to eat it. a crowd of about fifty who was enthusiastic about the music and tipped generously. an array of texas demographics: cowboy hats, country people, a bunch of tech people by which i mean clearly associated with the university. i was overjoyed, and played into the ceiling fans, i put my soul into it, i had a blast. best songs were 'waltz across texas with you' and 'does fort worth ever cross your mind?' but that's just me reading into it, that when you have a chance to do texas, you should do like george strait does, and really enjoy singing and playing texas. sure, the bluegrass was good. we're hot, in the bluegrass department. but the texas songs, i'll remember those forever. it's like i'd come home, and i wasn't even singing.

i've come to take father's day more seriously over the years. it occurs to me that i'm a father every minute of the day, whether i'm on duty, watching kids, or not. my responses to wrongdoing are always on display. sometimes i yell, or use sarcasm, or become gruff, or whatever. i'm tired; it's been a long haul over thirty years or so, and things haven't worked out totally well, at least for one of them who didn't call. i'm still hanging in there with most of them though, and sometimes the greatest testimony is just that you're still around. but i called my own dad, 87 and getting tired, and mom was tired too, they were both in a lot of pain. in the end, upon going back to facebook, i said nothing. i 'liked' everyone's happy father's day, i accepted their well-wishes, i scrolled through many public and glowing testimonies. a lot of my friends were silent though. there are lots of fathers out there who, when people think about it, they'd rather not think about it. i was grateful in the end, that mine was still there, still talking, able to tell me about his pain and hear about what little i'm suffering. and, to be able to see him in july - a trip is already being planned.

out on the walk, i'm doing about three miles barefoot these days. the honey moon has been keeping me company. town is quiet, especially our neighborhood, whose fate is tied to that of the university. the grass is green, stickers aren't so bad, but i still get blisters. dog poop is my biggest enemy. the weather is fine. bluegrass and texas songs replay in my head as i walk. i don't look at the sky much, on account of the dog poop. walking, swimming, and fiddling: it's a good life. and fathering, of course, that never seems to end.

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