Photo: Lily and her dad, out for an early Father’s Day lunch. No big deal :).
In one scene in (the totally wonderful!) Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son, writer Michael Chabon describes a totally average (and still totally chaotic) trip to the grocery store with his kids. While they’re waiting to check out, the woman standing next to him in line comments that he seems like a really good father. Chabon is sort of offended, and perceives the woman’s intended compliment as a reflection of society’s really low standards for dads. After all, he explains in this NPR interview: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113719470, moms are rarely commended for completing basic child and family-related tasks like changing diapers, cooking dinner, and running everyday errands (in addition, of course, to managing the not-domestic aspects of their lives).
My take, however, is a little bit different. And although I understand his reaction, and I agree with his belief that parents should be equally (or parallel-ly) invested in their families, I feel that the woman’s words –though directed at Chabon–extend far beyond the author or his interactions with his kids in that particular store. Because these days, over and over again, I see dads who have internalized these very high (and increasingly gender non-specific!) expectations everywhere–and it’s hard not to feel hopeful about the foreseeable future when you have the opportunity to watch really excellent parenting in action.
But yesterday afternoon, during Dmitri’s Father’s Day lunch? Well, let’s just say that my hope-o-meter was definitely on overload. And although I never had any doubt about the kind of father this husband-o’-mine would be, I hope that, one day, he’s able to catch a glimpse of the tremendous love I see whenever Lily looks at him, or calls for him, or squeals upon his arrival home after a flight.
Who knows? After a day like yesterday, spent with his very favorite munchkin, maybe he already gets it. After all, the writing’s all over the
wall butcher paper tablecloth :).