Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Continuous Mothering of Daddy Goat Gruff

“We go out in the world and take our chances,
Fate is just the weight of circumstances,
That's the way that lady luck dances --
Roll the bones…”

--Neil Peart

The traffic delay fired up our grumpy. No detour signs, the CHP officer out of his car but not directing traffic, the stoplight still running on its own timer -- only Caltrans and PG&E trucks blocking the highway straight ahead, forcing us to turn left and take the long way back around to get to Highway 152.

That little delay and detour tacked on another 45 minutes to the drive to my sisters to celebrate Father's Day. By the time we hit Casa de Fruta, it was pee-pee time for me and Bea. But we soon discovered that their power was out (connection then made to the nearby highway detour, Caltrans and PG&E trucks), so the only bathrooms open were portable ones with a 20+ minute wait in line.

We had parked on the other side by the playground and were worried about leaving our car with all our stuff inside, so the Mama stayed with Bryce near the car and I took Bea to wait in the bathroom line.

But then Bryce had to go, so Amy brought her over to me and then went back to drive the car over.

And the three of us waited, and waited, and waited...the girls playing in the white filler rocks that lined the children's railroad that wasn't running because of the power outage. They started filling my shorts pockets with the rocks.

"Stop it girls!" They didn't.

The Mama was nowhere to be seen. Finally, I called her.

"Where are you?!?"

"I'm in the car waiting. I peed in the bushes over here."


"What do you mean what?"

"You peed in the bushes? Please bring the car over here now so you can help me with the girls."

"Um...okay. You need help taking them to the bathroom?"

I heard the sardonic edge in response to my terseness.

"Just come over here, please."

It wasn't until later on the road when I realized what I was really saying was:

"Please come over here and mother."

Not a proud moment in Daddyland.

Back to the earlier moment -- the girls strayed farther and farther from me the closer we got to our turn in the porta-potties.

"Girls, no, come back here. Stay with Daddy. Come. Back. Here. Now!"

No, no, no. Stop, stop, stop. No, no, no. Now, now, now. All the responsible and patient parenting out the frickin' window and I transformed into Daddy Goat Gruff.

Amy finally showed up and then we both "gruffly" helped the girls in the potties. Then back in the car we went.

"Please come over here and mother." Sigh.

Parenting is a team sport, I know, and I do participate fully, but will admit I lean more on the Mama than I should, especially at times when I'm stressed and am not mindful of the fleeting moment needing patience. I default to a delusional anti-pragmatic Daddy Goat Gruff who wants to cut to the chase, any chase, with a usually misunderstood and misplaced meanness. Not easy to do with little ones; not easy to do with older ones. Maybe I do it to compensate for a lifetime of being a "nice guy," wanting to be liked, and finally realizing I needed to like myself.

Plus, there's mostly unconditional love of a good woman, from my Mom to my sister to the Mama, the continuous mothering of Daddy Goat Gruff. Estrogen has always been my kryptonitic salvation.


I was never a tough guy and never will be. My voice may carry a masculine boom, but I'm really just a loving B-hive keeper cowboy who rolls the bones while battling the weight of circumstances. I only hope that our girls take a little of my gruff perseverance to heart, to give them a little edge, to like themselves and be themselves, along with a lot of the Mama's true pragmatic vision and real-time practice.

I am B-hive, hear me bleat. 

Happy Father's Day, Girls.

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