20 June 2013

Happy Father's Day

I’m a dad.

No, really. It’s true. But here’s the thing. It sort of seems like that is all I am now. My identity begins and ends with dad. Everything else seems to have faded away. I was a person before this, right? With a personality, with interests, with defining traits? Where did that all go?

So what brought on this philosophical conundrum you might ask? Well, I’ll tell you. This year, on Father’s Day, we went to Home Depot. Literally on Father’s Day. At which time I became painfully aware that I am officially a dad. And also, maybe the lamest person ever.

Yeah. That happened.

You hear “Dad" and “Dada" so much that you start to forget your actual name. No one else needs you in their life quite the way that they do. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a role quite like this one, a place in the world this defined. I guess I’m not always sure who I was before this.

There was a time where I might sleep off a hangover on a Sunday morning. When Father’s Day was a day to make an obligatory phone call to my own dad. And now I’m the person that this so-called holiday is honoring? What the hell?

They’re there to see me off in the morning, they’re there to greet me the moment I get home. Sad to see me go, genuinely excited to see me return. This is weird. I’m skeptical. What do you want? Like that guy who offered to help me shovel my driveway that one time during the first winter in our first house. What was that about? What did he want? Just being nice? Suspicious.

Why are they so interested in me, I wonder. I am not that interesting. Am I? I don’t think I have ever been that interesting. Maybe just because I’m the tallest person in the room? There’s something to that. They look up at me. Do they also look up to me? For now, maybe. That’s a lot of responsibility.

It’s exhausting.

So, Home Depot was pretty crowded on Father’s Day. This is where the dads hang out, y’all. If we have a scene, I suppose it is there, amongst the lumber and the power tools and all the other DIY household items. I’m not good at any of it. All these “dad” things. Never learned them. It’s weird being a dad. It feels like I forgot to do my homework all the time. No matter how many times I go to Home Depot (yay, homeownership!) there are always things I will walk past and think, What is that? What do you do with that thing? How does that work? No idea.

I still hear “Dad” sometimes and think, who are they talking to exactly? And why are their voices so high-pitched? Who is this “dad” they keep referring to?

Oh, right.

Do you ever get used to it? I mean, this is four years in now, almost five. Which is pretty deep. There must be a point where this becomes normal. I mean, there are people who you absolutely recognize as “dads” whether they even have children or not. But having children must make you feel like a “dad” at some point, right? Or at least an adult? Sometimes I just don’t.

At least there’s the Lonely Island out there to help me make some sense of this new reality. (And in case you’re not already familiar with their work, this is NSFW.)

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