What posts in June? Oh, thooooose thirty posts in June… again. It seems that for the fourth year in a row I’ve climbed aboard the daily blogging train and continued that monumental, multi-year writing effort to string a topic or idea across the vast reaches of years. Each day a new post on a new topic, but on the same blog-per-day topic as last year, creating another set of Those 30 Posts in June. Today, that post just happens to be:
June 21st // Something You Want to Experience
It is the longest day, the day with the maximal quantifiable number of daylight hours of any given span between midnight and midnight in a calendar year. And as the last of those daylight moments sink into the horizon, I’m sitting on my parent’s couch, on an overnight trip out of town, waiting for my daughter to fall asleep in the next room.
It’s a dad-thing that it cracks my little shell a little more each time.
See, one is never quite sure if one is doing it right. If right is even possible. If there even is a so-called right. Any of it. Do I come of as confident in the rest of my writing, because… hey, some of that’s just for show.
All parents seem to get a bit of a raw deal in modern society, but dads –if only because I am one and that’s my perception– have an awkward role to play here in the early twenty-first.
We’re the butt of advertising jokes, the punch line usually ending in doofus father screwing something up that mom needs to fix.
We’re made out to be the defacto macho examples for boys, in a world that is every day questioning the very nature and value of modern masculinity and we’re the tough-guy fathers fending of the primal stew of those same boy’s emotions when they court our daughters, in a crazy world of sexting and what we’re so often told are escalating rates of things like teen porn addiction via the internet and the every-present-slip into societal-crumbling kid anarchy… or something.
We’re still the traditional bread-winners, but ones who now wear aprons when we come home each night, and through shared duties of mowing lawns, fix cars, sorting laundry, balancing household budgets and, yeah, putting kids to bed we are skipping through an uncharted minefield of swapped up gender roles and confusing power bargains with our spouses (who are likely just as confused as us.)
It’s a soul-crushing life, to not only have an unclear defined role in the world, but being forever in doubt if the role you’ve stepped in is even a role at all, or just a placeholder for something else.
I was on a field trip with the school yesterday. I know other dads volunteer for these sorts of things, but as for yesterday I was –literally, among nine other parent and teacher chaperones– the only guy. The lone papa. The solo dad among moms. And then, just as the icing on the cake, one of the moms actually, as she re-introduced herself to me (we’d met previously,) said: “You’re Claire’s mom, right?”
“Well… her dad, actually, but…”
“Oh… sorry! Yeah, sorry… I meant dad.” I know she meant nothing by it, of course, but brain-fart or not, it just helped to emphasize yet another moment of, you know the tune: one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other…
We tell each other to shut up about it and just listen.
I’m not looking for pity or to cast aspersions on these struggling roles. I know this is a tricky topic. I know, because I’ve been reading about it and I chose the word “minefield” earlier for a reason: there are real schisms in the world about the growing struggles between our two (randomly assigned) genders. There are men who are oh-so-very vocal about how they are feeling, perhaps overly entitled yet beaten down by the modern feminist movements pushing against the status quo and not making clear where the mutual benefits (and they exist) lay. Women are rightly feeling like for all the momentum towards equity, there is that last hill to climb that will be perhaps more difficult to reach than any of the past million steps, and for all that change there are still fundamentally broken interactions between men and women. We tell each other to shut up about it and just listen. And everyone goes and sticks their heads back in the sand and…
And some of us do listen.
And sometimes there is just a guy, not quite sure what he’s doing, sharing the job of raising a little girl into a woman in this crazy world… and that guy, that dad, would more often than not like to experience a little more confidence about the whole thing. Or would that even help?