|Being an "apparent parent" means involving|
your children, no matter how tired it
makes you - and the children.
Oddly, these things cannot be done simultaneously. So I do them in rapid succession. I swing the children onto my back and begin the grueling crawl into their bedroom. I start in the carpeted living area but soon transition to the wooden portion of the floor which leads down the long hall - haul? - to their bedroom. My knees refuse to participate in this part. I weigh 200+ pounds without two kids clinging to my back, neck and shoulders while draping their security blankets across my vision. So the added weight and awkwardness of balancing two children that have known how to walk for less time than it took Lady Gaga to burn her hideous name and personality into the soul of America makes it uncomfortable to crawl on wood in my customary shorts.
That was definitely a run-on sentence. But I like it.
So I end up scurrying down the hall in a bear crawl (anyone remember those from football practice?) with my homemade weight set clinging to my back or face as the case may be. It's great calisthenics, but it's tiring. Then I dump both kids on my son's bed and proceed to wrestle with the children. This usually involves me tossing the kids around like crash test dummies while they laugh uncontrollably. Then when I stop, they ruthlessly tackle me until I start again. Then, when I tire of the crash-test routine - heaven knows they never do - I break out the "spiders." My hands turn into the spindly little creatures that have to crawl all over the most ticklish parts of the children. More laughter comes between statements like "I want to squish the spiders!" coming from the kids.
|Why play on the playground when you have a|
perfectly good daddy to slide down, tumble on,
tackle, swing around on and harass?
Anyway, that kind of rough-and-tumble interaction just doesn't happen with every parent out there. And I think it's important. Heck, I'm the first to admit that it's easier to watch TV, play a video game, bust out a sudoku book or build a nuclear reactor with your thumbs duct taped together than be an "apparent parent." But interacting, talking and showing love by just paying attention to the little critters is what makes someone an "apparent parent." It is obvious that I am the parent of my children. I still have my fair share of "not right nows" and "wait a minute, Daddy's talking to Mommy"s, but my kids know they can generally get my attention if they want it.
My dad once told me something that is way too true in many instances. He said, "Mothers cook, clean, play, color with crayons, change diapers, read books, sing songs, teach lessons and generally interact with their children all day. Fathers are vaguely aware there's some little people running around the house."
I don't want to be that kind of father. An "apparent parent" will be called "Daddy" by his children long after his children's friends have stopped calling their parents by that sacred title. I don't want to be father or dad. I want to be "Daddy." A lot of love comes through in that word. An "apparent parent" knows what's happening in their kid's life. Kids are an integral part of that parent's life. Some parents would rather they never had children. An "apparent parent" loves the fact that he has someone to call him "Daddy."
What does "apparent parent" mean to you?