Unfit Father

Published on October 19th, 2016 | by Richard Black


The Ostensible Parent

uf_schoolsign_101916It recently occurred to me that Darcy will be attending first grade which might sound a bit strange because school started about two months ago. A brighter man or a least one more acquainted with the nuances of time would have prepared for this inevitability but if history is any judge I’ve consistently shown that I’m sorely lacking in both qualities.

Darcy’s return to school has provided me with a lot of free time to fill which should be something of a blessing. Summer had been exhausting but I’ve only got myself to blame. That’s actually not entirely true. I also have my wife to blame as well.

In a rare moment of inspiration Laura suggested that we have a theme for every week and in an even rarer moment of unbridled enthusiasm I agreed. The gist of the idea was that our six year old daughter would pick a subject like astronomy or deserts or oceans or the Holocaust and I, in turn, would create various activities and trips revolving around the theme Darcy had chosen. My efforts met with mixed results.

Darcy never really took to “The Diary of Anne Franke” during Germanic culture week and our viewing of Schindler’s List was a complete disaster. For “Space Week” our trip during to the science center was a hit until I tried to read a few passages from “A Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawking and the day only went south after we watched the movie “Solaris”.

The upshot is that summer was a busy and emotionally taxing time for everyone involved and one would think that I’d be glad that it’s over. Now that Darcy’s in school I’ve got a good eight hours to fill each day which sounds rather peaceful but it’s not. The fact is that I’m not quite sure what to do which isn’t to say that there isn’t a lot to be done.

My back porch needs to be power washed. My front porch needs to be painted. These are, I feel compelled to mention, not sexual innuendos but actual work that needs to be performed.

uf_nixon_101916There’s a stain on the couch that looks like Richard Nixon and needs to be cleaned or perhaps exorcised and a garbage disposal that could probably benefit from a few visits with a priest as well. Our chimney is a fire hazard waiting to happen and our front door is only a door in the the loosest sense of the word when it comes to keeping out cold air. There is, as I’ve mentioned, quite a lot to do and the problem is that I don’t feel like doing much of it.

I suppose I could focus on bettering myself but that seems like a lot of work as well as a bit self serving. Being in my mid forties I’m primed for a mid life crisis but as a stay at home dad dependent upon his wife’s benevolence (I LOVE YOU BABY) that doesn’t seem like a great idea. I may not be all that bright but I’m not a complete idiot. I also love my wife and I hate clichés particularly ones that involve illicit hand jobs in second hand sports cars.

I could pick up smoking but I never really quit and while day drinking is an appealing prospect I imagine the results would be fairly detrimental to my marriage. The fact is that my daughter’s entry into first grade has left me at loose ends. I miss her. I miss the camaraderie. I miss my partner in crime and now that I’m left to my own devices I’m not quite sure what to do or how to fill the hours until she comes home.

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