Captain and I went grocery shopping this past weekend. As I wandered the aisles I kept passing the same older lady. We must have been on a similar aisle weaving pattern. Each time we passed she looked into my cart at the Captain asleep in his car carrier, looked at me and smiled. I like people smiling at my kid. It makes me happy that I have a little smile machine. It's good to put those vibes into the world.
Finally, around the third pass she looked at me and said "So cute!"
"Thank you! I like him. I'm thinking of keeping him." I replied. I probably use this joke too often, but it's a nice ice breaker and it makes people laugh. I like making people laugh - puts good vibes into the world.
"Where's mom?" The nice lady asked me looking around like mom should be coming around the corner any moment.
"Oh, she's at home." I said not looking around because mom was at home and not coming down the aisle at any moment.
"Really! Oh, you're so brave!" She said somewhat surprised.
"Uh, thanks." And then I was looking around for the rogue, rabid honey badger I assume she thought I was intent on fighting at some point during my grocery shopping trip – because I couldn't fathom any other reason why she would be calling me brave.
It couldn't be because I, a male, had dared venture to the market with this tiny monster…
|Actual picture taken at time of incident!|
I chuckled a little bit and said something like "Yeah.. uh… he's a handful" while doing some sort of awkward sweeping hand gesture towards the Captain as he blew a ferocious sleepy spit bubble at me. We went our separate ways and I had a good chuckle thinking about how funny it would be if, when we met up on the next aisle, I took the Captain out of his carrier, held him to my neck and started screaming "AHHHHH GET HIM OFF!!! GET HIM OFF!!!"
When I got home I posted the picture on the Ask Your Dad Facebook Page with a quick description of what happened. A few people were actually upset. Not at me obviously, but at the lady implying that I was brave for leaving the house with my kid and without my wife.
I wasn't really offended by the statement. After all, I was joking with her – there is a possibility she was joking with me. There is also a possibility that she wasn't raised in an environment where dads leave the house with their kids. I don't know where this bizarro world exists, but I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt.
There has been a lot of talk about dad stereotypes over the last few years. The detached and bumbling father archetype was around long before Al Bundy or Homer Simpson. I can see why dads find it frustrating, especially when misconceptions and assumptions about a father's ability to care for his kids get used in custody hearings or even worse, legislation.
I'm not quite ready to take to the streets and burn my jock strap that I don't own. I am willing to do my part to break the stereotype by being an active and visibly "good" dad in the world. I think this is the best thing any of us dads can do.
Be present. Be visible. Be proud of being a good dad.
For me, the blogging is a part of that. It may not have been the original reason I started daddy blogging, but it is definitely a big part of the reason now. So here's the plan. I'm going to keep "bravely" taking my kids into public without their mother (I guess she can come if she wants to... I'm not going to be like "Stevie, you have to stay home. I'm making a statement for fathers everywhere." ) I'm also going to keep writing about it. Sometimes I'm going to be a bumbling idiot and sometimes I'm going to knock it out of the park. Hopefully people will see me and other like minded dads, stop thinking we're brave and just regard us as normal.
I feel the same way about the Hypothetical Gay Son post. I want to live in a world where people read something like that and go "Yeah... so?" Wouldn't that be cool?
Anyway, thanks for continuing to share this journey with me. It has been the best year of my life and I'm so happy you were all a part of it. As long as you keep reading, I promise to keep writing.
Good vibes for 2013!
P.S. If you're not currently a fan of the Ask Your Dad Facebook Page, but you like the blog, I highly encourage you to consider it. It's not just a place where I post new posts from the blog. I also post smaller humorous content, pictures and interesting articles. We laugh... we cry... we hug. (We don't actually hug.)
So, if you're interested click the "Like" on the Facebook Widget in the right sidebar and join the 1000+ followers who are already there!