Cat’s in the Cradle

I always feel bad for dads.  They struggle with the whole parent thing. Parenting is just not as natural to dads as it is to moms.  You can see it from the very beginning when handed their infant.  The father awkwardly takes the baby into his arms, stiff, scared.  There is nothing natural about the whole situation.

…and the silver spoon.

My advice to all you dads on this summer solstice of father’s days is that there is nothing you can give that takes the place of spending time with your child.  The key to a successful father/child relationship is time.  I don’t care if the kid bitches for the entire event.  In the end, the child will remember that you took them camping or golfing, they will not remember that they were an ass.IMG_0737

….little boy blue and the man on the moon.

Children remember evenings of broom ball in the back yard or dad’s invention of frisbee golf tournaments (who can throw the frisbee completely around the house in the least amount of throws).  Or who can forget dad hitting golf balls at you in the front yard.  Having your dad hit golf balls at you may not sound like a good time and probably looks dangerous from the neighbors view, but here’s the deal.  My dad was spending time with me and only me.  Now he wasn’t using one of those big clubs that you tee off with; he was using a pitching wedge, and I was catching the balls with his baseball glove and throwing them back at him.   Side note that my dad is left handed and I am not.  I’m catching golf balls with a grown man’s left handed baseball glove and have to take the glove off to throw the ball back.  It’s about spending time, not about the wrong glove or mixing up sports.

…..when you coming home, dad. I don’t know when.

It’s even tougher for the divorced dads.  They lose their mentor.  Any dad who loses the mom through divorce, death, substance abuse, abandonment, will struggle.  It’s not an easy task.  Mom’s are the glue that holds the familial unit together.  No.  Mom’s are more like a big bottle of Triflow Chain Lube.  Everything runs smoothly from gear to gear, up hills, down hills, as long as the mom is around.  As soon as you throw a dad and kids together without the mom, it’s going to be awkward.  Who’s going to make sure there is food? Who’s going to keep the conversation going? Who am I going to tell if my butt hurts?

….but we’ll get together then.

My divorced dad would take my sister and I out for pizza on a scheduled day.  We spent more time with my dad after the divorce than before. We were now scheduled in his week.  He worked a lot and played golf and now he had to pick up his kids and make plans with them.  We would sit at the Village Inn Pizza waiting for the pizza, watching how his Natural Lite would react when he added salt to it.  He would ask us lame questions, and we would respond with equally lame one-word answers.  We would look at his watch and ask how much longer for the pizza.  Eventually, it would arrive, and we would not have to come up with a conversation for a while as we ate quietly.  One night after pizza he talked us into seeing a dumb science fiction movie called “Star Wars”.  He drug us into the movie theater.  That’s another thing, for some reason kids don’t whine with their dad.  That’s for Triflow Chain Lube mom.  We don’t complain we just go along.  But Dad won some points that night. My sister and I came out of that movie in love with Han Solo and having imaginary Lightsaber wars the rest of the evening.  Time.

… know we’ll have a good time then.



4 thoughts on “Cat’s in the Cradle

  1. Basically I have to hate you a little bit for posting ANYTHING related to this song. What a freakin’ tear-jerker. I’ve been crying over that song since I was about 8 years old and iIt’s much worse now that I’m a parent, and grandparent, myself.

    My dad died in 1983 and I had just turned 20. I think you and I were on a bike ride when I told you the story about the day he died and the circumstances that brought me to be right there with him when he took his very last breath. It’s 32 years ago and I still choke up every single time I tell the story. Dad’s are special people; some more so than others, but they’re all special in some way.

    I want to say to your readers… If your father is still alive, go visit him. NOW. Don’t wait for your next vacation, day off, or that vague, “someday”. Do it now, before it’s too late.


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