A father figure has a very specific daily role in a family. Sometimes the father figure is the plucky comic relief. At other times, the father might play the bad cop enforcer while mom is the good cop protector. There are even times when the father may be the font of all knowledge for homework assignments.
I wasn’t sure which official role I would fill in our home at the beginning of today. Maybe I’d be the good cop in a tense parent-kid standoff? Maybe the wise listener to a heartbroken teenager?. Nope. Today I learned my official role when terror reared its cute head.
Say what? Since when did terror have a cute head? I’m glad you asked…
Her name is Amelia. We call her ‘Millie’, ‘Mia’, or ‘satan’. She did the terrible twos with amazing proficiency, and she’s preparing for the more terrible threes with unrelenting zeal. Last night, she came in our room and announced “My tooth fairie hurts!”, and then proceeded to climb on the bed, callously smash her parental figures as she climbed over them, moved our pillows around to form a bed, and plopped herself down to fall asleep.
She continued her attitude of owning the place when I came out of the shower today and was stopped by satan holding a Vortex Nerf pistol. For those who don’t know about the Vortex, many good people have learned about pain firsthand by assuming the Vortex disc didn’t hurt because the word ‘Nerf’ on a plastic disc automatically made it soft and fluffy. I knew the pain the Vortex was capable of, but didn’t react fast enough to the terror announcing “Dad, I’m going to shoot you!”
BAM! She shot me where it counts. I dropped to the floor screaming in agony. Cute satan started laughing, my wife Cindy came to see what the commotion was and started laughing hysterically as well, and I lay on the floor unable to move. No “Are you okay?”, no “Millie, tell daddy you’re sorry”, not even a moment of silence to acknowledge my suffering. I lay on the floor, alone in my anguish, while the laughter in the air made the sting that much worse.
And just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, our 5-year-old terror Kevin came around the corner, stepped over his dad on the floor and said nonchalantly, “Suck it up, dad.”
More laughter from the girls, more humiliation for the man, and at that moment my role in the family was crystal clear to me. I was the dad.
And as the dad, I started laughing as well.