Published on December 7th, 2016 | by Richard Black0
The Way it Never Was: a Parenting Fairy Tale
My daughter Darcy and I have a nice little routine when I pick her up from first grade. I let her play around the school yard with her friends for a half an hour or so and on the way home she asks me politely for a playdate. I respond with a “we’ll see” and then when I ask her about her day. Darcy always unfailingly gives me a detailed account of the goings on in first grade and how she’s learning the underpinnings of Algebra or recreated a Matisse in art class.
Once we’ve pulled into the driveway my daughter always thanks me for picking her up and tells me that I’m a great daddy. Just before she shuts the car door I ask her if she’s forgotten something and, without another prompt, Darcy gives me a sheepish look before rooting around in the backseat for her backpack.
After a nutritional snack that incorporates the proper amount of fiber and protein with minimal sugar I let my daughter watch a little TV. More often than not it’s something on PBS about the events of the day. Occasionally she asks to see a little CNN to catch up on foreign and domestic affairs and I tend to indulge her every once in a while if she’s eaten her hummus. She’s only six after all and a father needs to set some limits.
During the time she’s not up for taking in current issues like the aging population in Japan and its effects upon the country’s economy Darcy has taken an interest in poetry. Currently my daughter has been going through the complete edition of Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” but she’s also a fan of Keats particularly the piece about roses and syphilis. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock has also struck a chord.
Inevitably five o’clock rolls around and it’s time for me to prepare a dinner from the foodstuffs I’ve gathered at the seventeen local organic farmers markets I patron. I suggest that it’s time to work on her homework and Darcy sighs lightly, then smiles and acquiesces. As she recites The Iliad in its original Greek I cook a mushroom risotto and grill a leg of lamb stuffed with forty cloves of garlic and marinating in a red wine vinaigrette.
Laura, my wife, is always punctual and makes a point to come home for meals. Our family always sits down to dinner promptly at six thirty and the conversation is always lively
More often than not I mention a poignant short story or essay I composed while splitting a cord of wood by hand. Laura relates a tale about how she was able to advocate for one of her clients and get an insurance company to pay for a young child’s much needed insulin. Darcy, always eager to chip in, says something insightful about the nature of healthcare and once everyone has had second helpings we listen to some Bach or Mozart in front of a roaring fire.
Bedtime is such an ordeal but only because we’re all having such a good time. Once seven thirty rolls around Darcy reluctantly but obediently brushes her teeth, picks out a nightgown to wear as well as a book she’d like to read to us. These days Darcy’s fascinated with the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez which delights me to no end. Fantastic reality in context with a Latin and South American theme have always been some of my favorite reads and it warms my heart and soul that my daughter enjoys them as well.
Of course Laura and I also read to Darcy as well. At the moment we’re working our way through Shakespeare’s sonnets and Darcy, always astute, has noticed some inconsistency regarding gender throughout the works. After a lively but restrained debate her mother and I turn out the lights and then sing to our daughter until she closes her eyes and falls into a deep and blissful sleep.
Laura and I are usually able to slip downstairs once we’ve sent our daughter of to dreamland. Occasionally we rehash the day but more often than not we watch a movie, a foreign film with subtitles. I often and spontaneously fix my wife a martini, Grey Goose slightly dirty with three olives and just a kiss of vermouth about halfway through the movie before going down on her. We make love like sea otters on the couch shortly thereafter, orgasm simultaneously, and it’s all amazing and lovely aside from the fact that none of it has never ever happened.