“That Dad”

I wanted, I really wanted to write something about the election.

I had this thing in my head,  there was snark and humor involved. But that’s not what I do and it’s a little late in the game to start with that nonsense. Besides that, something more important came up.

I missed my daughters first chorus recital.

Because of work.

I became “that dad”.

I didn’t find out about it until after the schedule had been posted. Everyone else had their time off planned for weeks, there was no one available to cover who had my skill set, and I really needed the hours. My wife assured me our daughter had fun, it likely didn’t matter to her that I wasn’t there. It wasn’t even an actual recital,  It was just two songs and, it was done with really quickly. The kids spent more time playing in the park than they did actually singing.

That just makes it worse though. If I had known all that I could have gone into work early set up the kitchen, dipped out, hustled downtown to the thing, and hauled ass back before dinner rush had begun. Not that I could have known but, such is hindsight. Still it bugs me.

I’ve never missed anything before. Nothing like that. Not even the school play where she didn’t have any speaking parts, and basically just stood there dressed as a shrimp. Well, I mean we called it a shrimp, we did our best with what we had, it was mostly just sequins and googly eyes, she really looked more like a super fabulous Deep One. But seriously, for fuck sake I chaperoned a gaggle first graders through a field trip to a nursing home one year so they could sing holiday carols to the residents there. Let me just say, you’ve no idea what hell is until you’ve listened to over one hundred elementary school kids sing “I Have a Little Dreidel” off key, at the top of their lungs, and not nearly in unison to a bunch of confused, and possibly angry, senior citizens.

I suffered this and many other things because I promised myself I’d never be “that dad”.

The one that wasn’t there for things.

I promised I would be there for all the things. The big things, the little things. Even be there for mostly insignificant things that, in the long run, will wind up being forgotten. I have now broken my promise to myself about my daughter so, by proxy I broke a promise to her.

I know I’m probably over thinking it. That it’s not that big of deal. That I had some reasonable excuses. I tell myself that.

Then I remember these words about a father, with a very important job, making a mad run to get home in time to read to his child, because he promised he would do it everyday:

“No excuses. He’d promised himself that. No excuses. No excuses at all. Once you had a good excuse, you opened the door to bad excuses.”
― Terry Pratchett, Thud!

There will be other things to make time for. There’s a thing in a couple of days, and another in December. Then there will be a whole new year after to not be “that dad”.
Any way, if you live in the United States, go out tomorrow and vote, if you haven’t already. No excuses.

Happy Monday.


A Brief Overview of Politics

“I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are the good people and the bad people. You’re wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides.”

Havelock Vetinari, Patrician of Ankh-Morpork

From the novel Guards, Guards by, Terry Pratchett