Let Us Now Praise Good Men
I haven't even put away my Mother's Day cards yet, and the house is still filled with flowers (now softly dropping their petals all over the dining room table) but for some reason I am already thinking about Father's Day.
There are many joys of parenthood, but one of them is getting to watch my husband be a father. It's wonderful, of course, because he is a great dad and a fully engaged partner. But I also learn a lot from his parenting style, which is much more easy going than mine. (Did I mention MUCH more easy going?)
On a recent Friday my husband worked from home, so he'd be on hand to pick up our daughter after school. I needed his help, since I would be busy taking my mother to a doctor's appointment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, during rush hour, on a Friday. Who knew what time we'd be home? (Maybe by Saturday? Certainly couldn't count on making it back for dinner.)
Not only did my husband stay home, working in the home office, slogging away and editing stories on his laptop. He picked up our daughter, got her an ice cream cone - with sprinkles, I'm told - and took her to the park. He wiped up all the melted chocolate dribbled on her chin. He watched her while she played in the back yard. He said yes when she wanted to have the neighbor's children came over to play outside with her..
Then he did something I never do - he let the kids all come upstairs to the playroom. Now the reason we have a playroom strategically located next to the home office is just for this reason. Kids play, mom can work in the home office within ear shot. But we have a complicated, if cordial relationship with our neighbors. Let's just say we don't entirely trust the patriarch next door, especially since he talked his way into the house when we weren't here (we had workers over handling part of a hellish overhaul renovation project.) Our neighbor has never hidden the fact that he'd like to buy our place, but that was beyond the pale.
But my daughter doesn't know any of that. All she knows is that the kids next door are her friends. They ride their scooters together outside, draw elaborate chalk creations on the sidewalk and visit each other's backyards. Have they had my daughter over to their place? Occasionally. But I've never had them over. We say hello over the back fence, exchanging pleasantries. We discuss the weather, the kids, and the things we are growing. (Them: grapes, cucumbers, roses.) (Me: herbs and possibly tomatoes, if I get off my ass. Hey - do the wild blackberries count?)Continued on the next page