Friday, December 6, 2013

Dad's Phases


"Dad, I’m a fairy princess and I’m off to slay the dragon!"

"That sounds exciting. How do you beat a dragon?"

"I don’t know. I think you need a wand. Can you make me a wand?"

"The library might have some books on it. Want to come read them with me?"

- - -

"Dad, I’m gay."

"Okay."

"Look, I know you’re upset about it."

"I'm not. How did you learn you were gay?"

"We were playing a game at a party. I know you’re upset."

"I’m really not, unless, wait, tell me more about this game."

- - -

"Dad, this is my boyfriend. His name is Vasily."

"So you're not gay anymore?"

"It’s called “bisexuality” Dad. God. Way to make a first impression."

"Pleased to meet you, Vasily. How did you meet my girl?"

- - -

"Dad, I’m not a girl."

"You’re not?"

"I never was, and I've known it since we started using lockers in Gym class. It’s why Mom and I don’t get along."

"Your mother thinks the world of you."

"You don’t notice anything, do you? You’re just in a little cis-cultured bubble."

"So you’re not a girl. What would you like to be called?"

"I don’t need your labels."

- - -

"Dad, I’m pregnant."

"…"

"I know. I’m not married, and I don’t want to be married. This is my choice."

"…"

"Dad? Are you mad?"

"No, I just forgot how to feel this way for a few years. It’s coming back to me."

"You’re so weird."

- - -

"Dad, I have cancer."

"…Okay. Okay, how do we beat it?"

"I don’t know."

"The library might have some books on it. Want to come read them with me?"

- - -

"Dad, I miss you."

28 comments:

  1. Dialogue with our children (or parents) is always hard. You captured that beautifully - humour, sadness, anger, attitude...

    Glad I stopped by!

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    1. Glad to have you, Paul, and glad you liked it. Thanks for reading!

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  2. What a wonderful, human father. Very touching, John. Well done.

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  3. Damn you John - my eyes are a bit sweaty. Love it.

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    1. Apologies for any great expectorations.

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  4. The last line is so sad! I can imagine why this one was tough to write but it works for me.

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  5. I know what you mean about 'short equals hard to write'. My own shortest, which races in at 99 words - took me three laborious days! This piece of yours is very clever, certainly, and it takes some re-reading to absorb the nuances. Thanks for sharing, John.

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    1. I'm very curious now. What did you pick up on the re-reads?

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  6. That ended so sadly. Very much like a real conversation between father and child. Except I wouldn't know how to handle most of that stuff.

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  7. Simply told and really powerful. Great flash, John.

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  8. Sounds like the perfect father. Wonderfully concise writing, John.

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  9. Great job. The last line really gets you in the feels.

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  10. You had me at "wait, tell me more about this game." I'd have probably said the same thing. He had a lot of patience, and it paid off at the end. I saw your tweets—I wasn't in the same boat, but I knew early on that I would never measure up to expectations, so I quit trying. I knew exactly what "moving the goalposts" meant first time I heard it.

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  11. I had to re-read it because I thought I was missing something, I was looking for something negative in his reactions. This was really beautiful, John. Every girl deserves a dad like that.

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    1. The father has some lines here, and some perceived notions, that I thought might bother some people more sensitive to the trans* life. I'm glad it hasn't angered any commenters so far, since insensitivity isn't the goal of the piece. Still interested in every point of view on it, though.

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  12. Very touching piece. Wish all Dads were like that!

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  13. Very well-written. I like the format.

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    1. Thanks Margit. Sometimes these little engines get feisty.

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  14. What a sweet piece. [And what a sweet Daddy.] Nice one.

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  15. Wonderful writing John.
    This so much made me think of something I read along time ago, which went something like this:-

    I am ten years old, and papa knows everything.
    I am fifteen years old, maybe papa doesn't know as much as I thought.
    I am twenty years old, papa knows absolutely nothing.
    I am fifty years old, I wish papa was still here to ask.

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    1. That's a lovely piece, Steve. It puts me in the mind of the old bit attributed to Mark Twain: "When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years."

      Which was not the head space I was in while writing it, but it's certainly a neighboring parish.

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    2. I can well imagine Mark Twain coining a phrase like that, it says so much, and with such wit and humour.

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  16. Poignant piece. My favorite part was "I just forgot how to feel this way for a few years. It's coming back to me." The ending was sad, but of course, unfortunately true.

    The Warrior Muse

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  17. I thought this was totally well written, but the repetitive nature of their conversations (and that the child never seemed to really hear a word the dad said) made me a little depressed.

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  18. What a super dad! As others have said, this is a very touching story John, great work.

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  19. This was a tear-jerker for me too. I was a Daddy's girl until I became a teenager; then we fought and later ignored each other for years. It's only in the last few that we've really become close again. You've reminded me to give him a hug next time I see him. :)

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  20. Oh, wow. Powerful piece. It makes me think about the important place dads have our lives in. I usually think of breaking things to mothers first, but dads are also a go-to person.

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  21. I'm so glad I discovered your blog, John. This is really skilful writing.

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