Sunday, July 10, 2005

A Note on the Stuff

When was it that I came to understand Fatherhood? Was it when I found myself holding dearly to my Touchdown as she vomitted Twizzlers and chocolate milk on my shoulder or was it when I got shot in the eye by Baby Indy's geyser of pee? Was it as I held my wife's hair as she, too, vomitted for nearly nine months straight or was it watching my stepdaughter false start and get disqualified in her first race on the swim team?

The truth is that it started with my birth and childhood as I watched my parents holding hands and walking the floor at all hours of the night cradling a feverish child. It continued as I watched the parents of my friends teaching us T-ball and driving us to sleepovers. I learned from fathers interviewing me at the commencement of dates. I grew from watching my own siblings take on the trials of fatherhood with anxiety and courage.

These examples lent understanding and appreciation but I really came to understand all of the complexities about six months in to my marriage when I entered our house from the garage and my naive life came to an end.

I married at the tender age of 32, which in Mormondom equals "creepy middle aged freak", and I immediately became the father of a delightful 10 year-old stepdaughter who both adored me and found me to be a bit of a nerd. The first several months of marriage and fatherhood included an awkward period of hair thingies and hair in the drain, and, well, hair in general. It bordered on abuse as I often got sprayed with caustic chemicals and found myself watching shows that a single menace to society would never watch. It was a trying time, but a time made easier by the fact that parenting a perfect child isn't really all that difficult.

As the year went on, both my wife and I were aware that the 5th grade maturation discussion would soon be upon us. I was a little clueless, because for boys the discussion was always centered on hair in new places and changes in our voices, but we always knew the girls had a movie. A "sex" movie, we were quite sure. I really didn't know what to expect.

As I crashed through the garage door, I looked up to see my girls rummaging through the bathroom at the top of the stairs. They whispered and giggled and whispered some more before I gave them the Leave it to Beaver, "I'm home!" More whispering ensued and then, like a flash, my stepdaughter whipped out of the bathroom, plummeted down the stairs and whipped around the bannister to throw her arms around me in a big bear hug.

"K, K, guess what? Guess what?" she began as she tried to catch her breath. I looked up anxiously at my wife at the top of the stairs. She, too, looked as bewildered as I did.

"What? What?" I conceded.

"Mom and me have been looking at the stuff. You know the "stuff". That's what we call it. And guess what?"

Oh, I couldn't even pretend that I knew what was going to come out next. My life flashed by me like a priest on a rollercoaster and I bit my tongue hard. I again gazed up at my wife shrugging her shoulders (She had got roped into this experiment by a devious questionnaire sent home by the school).

"What?" I winced.

"Some of the stuff" her voice quieted to a whisper. "Some of the stuff goes up in ya! Yeah, up in ya!"

I may have passed out at that point, but I regained my composure and nodded my head knowingly.

I was now officially a Father, and my fall from grace was precipitous yet harmless.


Blogger Better Safe Than Sorry said...

wow, i don't know what to say, ummmm, welcome to fatherhood?

10:44 AM  
Blogger Courtney said...

Thanks for visiting. And you're right--She Sells Sanctuary rocks! Come back at Christmas for my annual holiday music extravaganza.

12:41 PM  
Blogger Jensgalore said...

ROTFLOL What an initiation! At least you knew she trusted you. :)

2:01 PM  
Blogger aka_monty said...

Quite an initiation rite! :) I'm sure you handled it with aplomb.

Hello, Michele sent me! First time visitor to your place~hope it's okay if I poke around a bit.

8:02 PM  
Anonymous Last Girl On Earth said...

Wow, like Mony said.... Cute post. Here via Michele. havve a great week!

8:06 PM  
Blogger Carmi said...

OMG, this is so funny. Touching entry, and one that seems to be typical of your unique view of life and parenthood. Lovely stuff.

Michele sent me tonight. But I have to confess I like to read you on my own, too.

8:25 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

Sounds as though you handled it rather well; and you should be extremely pleased that she wanted you to know about it! It shows that she trusts you.

8:45 PM  
Anonymous john cowart said...

Beautifully written.

6:20 AM  
Blogger Indigo said...

LOL! And there ya go, welcome to fatherhood.

7:08 AM  
Blogger PractiGal said...

Very sweet! Oh yeah, that sex movie in 5th grade... I remember being freaked out that my mother was there for an assembly of only girls! She didn't even tell me she was going to be there! I kept the "booklets" we were given under my mattress - you know, didn't want anyone to know what was going to happen to me!

Good that the school sent a note home & y'all got to chat about this like the normal thing that it is. You initiated Dad! I sure as hell never talked about it with my father!

12:36 PM  
Blogger Le laquet said...

Lol! Oh well done for being so sensitive and not laughing out loud!! Brilliant post!

1:56 PM  
Blogger Shaleen said...

That was great! It reminded me of when I was younger and got around to embarrassing my dad by talking about that sort of thing. Of course, he'd never admit embarrassment. : p

2:26 PM  
Anonymous E said...

I'm a woman and this post made me sooooo thankful that both my kids are boys! Good luck to you!!!

6:50 PM  

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