the circular runner

fathers and Ginger Rogers…

In humor, life, observations, writing on June 6, 2012 at 6:20 am

With this post, I’m not going to make any friends with the moms out there, but it’s almost Father’s Day–isn’t it? And so this post is for the papas out there. I am a new father, so this is self-serving, but I think that if you serve enough people, sometimes Self deserves some attention, too. Self can be deserving at times. Last night, as I was changing my boy, who I call The Boy in my very original way with words, I was thinking that fathers don’t always get their due during pregnancy and that trend continues through the early life of children.

OK, OK, I’m not going to say that I even now what it’s like to have a human being squeeze out of me, I admit this. And for that alone, mamas of the world, you deserve more credit than a hedge fund banker, but I think fathers do a lot–at least they do when they’re worth a damn.

I cannot breast feed, true enough. But dads, my friends at least, all get up with their wives and change their children before feeding begins, and though we don’t have to stay up while the feeding happens, it’s not always easy to get back to sleep. In fact, a lot of times, I don’t, which is good because when The Boy decides that he wants to stay up after he’s done draining boobage, I get to take him on the Magic Mystery Tour of the house until he falls asleep in my arms.

I’m not complaining, mind you. I love The Boy, and I know that my wife gets it harder than I do, but at the same time, I have to leave the next day, go teach a bunch of kids, try to write, and then come back and start up daddy-dutoes again. The outside world is not forgiving of my lack of sleep.

Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire were both amazing dancers, but somehow, Fred, because he was the lead, eclipses Ginger in most people’s imaginations. But Ginger did everything Fred did and did it backwards and with heels on. Mothers are like Fred and Dads are like Ginger, I think. Well, maybe not exactly. We don’t do everything mothers have to do, but we do a lot. (And there are probably some fathers who do what they do while wearing heels, so there’s that, too.) I’m just saying.

  1. At first, my man and I fell into the trap of competing for sympathy. He’d complain about his day and instead of listening, I’d try to outdo him with complaints. And vice-versa. At some point, this became ridiculous and miserable and we decided it was not a competition. We were both horribly miserable and deserved all the sympathy in the world. Now, when he complains, I give him a hug. And then it’s my turn.

    • wise, ms. anna. very wise. i should say that i don’t go around sulking about this, and i know my wife appreciates me. i just think that people, in general, maybe due to history or their own upbringing, kin of give fathers short shrift. it’s a known fact, though i don’t the real stats on this, that fathers abandon their families more often than mothers. but sometimes i suspect that people don’t value fathers a much because of that fact. it’s almost like at some level people are always expecting the worst, so they prepare themselves for it. or maybe it’s biological. men don’t carry babies to term and we can’t produce milk, and maybe that’s why historically, fathers have abandoned their families more easily.

      it’s complicated. true to my blog’s name, I’m running in circles. but i guess, to put it simply, my little post was to all the women out there to remind them that fathers really do matter and good ones do try and do everything mothers do. we shouldn’t be excluded from the love because of biological difference.

      there’s an irony to this last statement, but i think i do mean it.

      • I get it. I do think that there is a new kind of father happening these days. Comparing my man to my father is like comparing the sun and a toy robot. It is so hard to be a good father and you guys who take it on wholeheartedly deserve huge sympathy and support and credit. Bravo!

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