First Draft; Daddy

This was inspired by Girl by Jamaica Kinkaid.

Do you see that man there?  Of course you do, he has been a part of you like the air you breathe, like the warm blanket lending its comforting weight on your body on cold nights when the dark comes early and I’m not tired yet but you fall asleep almost immediately, anyway; this man who randomly bursts into song with disembodied lines from every musical he’s ever heard, who makes up lyrics when he doesn’t know the words, and who takes the entire song completely out of context, but still you understand it; this man who puts you to bed with a magic spell – go to bed with a 1, 2, 3 – and wakes you with a sing-song invitation to come to the faire; this man who needs only to crook his index finger to send you into peals of hysterical laughter and who lulls you into forgetting, while you’re watching that finger, that he’s got another one just like it circling around out of your vision to find the tickle spot just under your ribs; this man who turns compliant black cats into Russian ushankas and stiffly demands your papers; this quiet man who yells for those same cats from the back door at dusk in a voice that can be heard far beyond the neighborhood and that rattles the glasses in the cabinet, but that never fails to result in little black lawn lions emerging from the veld eager for their supper; this man who demands of you your very best work because that’s what he demands of himself; this man who allows you, even at your advanced ages, to sit on his lap or to sock-ski around the kitchen while hanging on, at both your peril, to the pockets of his jeans as he runs laps around the linoleum; this man who does not flinch at nail polish or tampons, and who is better at keeping your birthday parties running than your mother could ever be; this man who works at a job he doesn’t love because it gives him the freedom to be home in 7 minutes if that’s what’s required – or wanted – and which lets him sit in the bleachers for band concerts and climb on the bus to chaperone field trips; this man who does laundry and vacuums and changes sheets with the same kind of ease with which he wields a wrench in service to a fussy washing machine or swings a hammer to build a shed; this man who grills a killer steak and can whip a cheese soufflé that his girls almost beat one another with their spoons to get to first; this man who gives up his baseball game on ESPN for a couple of episodes of Phineas and Ferb on the Disney Channel; this man who carried you around like a tiny, wriggling footballs and perfected his interpretation of the baby burrito and bathed you every single night in a cloud of bubbles don’t poach the baby; this man who has taught you how to climb the stairs and ride a bike and tie a knot and who will teach you how to pack for school and pay your bills and work a clutch – though mom will cover parallel parking; this man who plans vacations that balance perfectly staid historical tours with noisy water parks; this man who teaches you what love looks like as he sweeps your mother into a music-less dance in the dining room or hands her a book after supper – go to bed; I’ll clean the kitchen; this man who has set the bar for your definition of manhood so impossibly high that your mother wonders whether he has ruined every boy in your futures because none of them could ever measure up, but you will love them, anyway.



Filed under admiration, Mrs. Chili as Student, writing

3 responses to “First Draft; Daddy

  1. Okay — you have *got* to put tissue warnings on these things!!
    –Daddy’s Girl

  2. Pingback: Love Thursday « The Blue Door

  3. Organic Mama

    That is wonderful, and such a gift to your whole family – moments and insights, and realities all embedded. Posterity rejoices.

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