Tomorrow is Father’s Day. It’s the day when, if you are a Dad, your family for reasons they may not even fully comprehend, place you slightly above Mom – even if it’s for the briefest of moments.
As a guy, you grow up understanding and knowing that in order to have a properly functioning household, the Mom/Wife needs to be in charge of most important things. Society makes sure that we as men are constantly reminded of this via the classic saying, “Happy wife, happy life!”
Some people may disagree with this, but in my 43+ years on this earth I’ve seen that in about 99.9% of the households where the man makes the major decisions, he’s usually the only one who seems to be “Happy”. I put happy in quotes because upon further digging you usually find out the husband/father, “Hates his fucking life”.
So, as a father it is very often that you feel not like a 2nd wheel, but a third. And the strange thing is most men are comfortable, if not totally cool with this. As a man, you understand that the Mom comes first, kids 2nd, Dad 3rd. Trust me ladies, we all know that if the mom of the household breaks down, so does the household. Seriously, pay attention to the utter shit storm that is happening with your family the next time you get sick, go out of town for 3 days, etc. The Dad tries, but damn if the kids don’t know shit is fucked if mom doesn’t get back toot sweet!
Now, before anyone of you go screaming to Jezebel dot com, this is not a #YesAllMen-type of bullshit piece. (As a side note; I think guys who feel that “Men’s Rights” are being trampled are usually shit heads and assholes I can do without. I could be wrong on this, but from the ones I’m met and interacted with – pretty much all shit-heads and d-bags. Anywho, back to being all sappy and shit). This is simply a reality. Mom’s rule the roost and Dad’s take pride in being able to supply the funds to buy the roost. For reals, ladies. Your guy(s) take incredible pride in being the person who has to support the family. I know for myself my greatest dream and goal is to earn enough money so that as the great Tracy Jordan from 30 Rock once said, “I wanna make so much monies that my children don’t even have to worry about going to University, because they will never have to work!”
That all being said, being a Dad can be stressful (Much like being a Mom can be stressful – or so I’ve been told :-p ) And as a Dad, you tend to forget that you can be an asshole sometimes. We’re sorry, but it just happens. It’s the way we’re built. I’m sure someone can point to testosterone levels, societal pressure to acquire certain standards, etc., but in my opinion, it’s part of what we are. We can’t help it. We are men.
I liken it to the fact that many of you ladies love to cry for some reason. Seriously, you just sit there, watch a movie that you know is going to make you miserable and all blubbery and you love it. Why? I don’t know. No man knows! “No, I do NOT want to watch the Notebook again with you sweetie. I keep telling you; I’m a guy – we don’t like crying!”
And so, I present below a little something for the Dad’s and the Mom’s who wish to understand the Dad’s. It’s a poem that was first published in 1927, in People’s Home Journal (No, wait! Come back!). Although nearly 90 years old and a bit dated, I think the poem still rings true today.
P.S. If you’re a father and you don’t enjoy crying, don’t read this you fucking pussy.
W. Livingston Larned
Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.
These are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.
At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, “Good-bye, Daddy!” and I frowned, and said in reply, “Hold your Shoulders back!”
Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boy friends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive — and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father!
Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in, timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you want?” I snapped. You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.
Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding—this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. It was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years. And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by
your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me goodnight. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!
It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing but a boy—a little boy!”
I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.