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I Can Do This

I'd like to thank all of you who commented on and emailed me about my Father's Day post. For those of you who were around last week, the poll I took showed that 72% felt men had the right to plan their own day, but the majority of the feedback I received indicated that a man should allow their loved ones, be it their children or spouse/partner, to plan their day for them in celebration of them.

In the end, everyone was right. There were no wrong answers/opinions/points.

Last week my Monday to Sunday went something like this...

Monday: Went to work, went to a loft party after work.

Tuesday: Got into an argument with my wife first thing in the morning, went to work, came home, fed the kids, ate cereal for dinner, laid out clothes for the next day, packed lunch for the baby, went to bed and didn't say much to the wife.

Wednesday: The wife left on her business trip at 6 a.m., I got the tween ready for school, got the baby ready, dropped her at the sitter, got to work only fifteen minutes late, worked, put out a fire with an employee, inadvertently fanned a fire with an in-law, rounded up the kids, went to Target, gave the tween his orders for the night after arriving home, fed everyone leftovers, worked with the baby on the potty, made dinner for the next day, cleaned the house, packed lunch for the baby, sent my son to bed, laid out my clothes for the next day, chased the cat out of my bedroom, read to the baby, put the baby to bed, cleaned the kitchen, played around with the blog, spread out across my empty bed, slept like a baby.

Thursday: Woke up at 5:45, did push ups, got the kids ready, sent the tween to school, dropped the baby at the sitter, got to work on time, the day went by in a blur (Thank God), caught the train home, picked up the baby, set the table, ate with my family, gave my tween the nightly orders, sat on him to study for his finals, talked with him about his upcoming birthday, played with the baby, gave her a bath, struggled to do something with her hair, worked with her on the potty, read to the baby, put the baby to bed (she actually went to sleep on her own) packed her lunch, packed my lunch, set out her clothes and mine, played Scrabulous on Facebook, put together all the dirty towels and the bath mat, chased the cat out of the bedroom, cleaned some more, went to bed, slept like a baby.

Friday: Woke up at 6, did push ups, got the kids ready, went to the laundromat to have the towels and bath mat washed, caught the train, got to work, felt really good about myself-the day-my life and wrote about it, happily worked in the office until 2, worked off-site (even happier) until 5:30, came home, got the baby, found the tween at my mother-in-laws house, went to my storage closet to throw out junk, picked up the kids, ordered Chinese food, went home, got Father's Day cards in the mail from my mommy, ate with my family, watched my daughter struggle to stay awake until she practically collapsed standing up, talked basketball and the Hulk with my son, sent him to bed, enjoyed the breeze passing from the front to the back of my apartment, laid in bed watching my daughter sleep, passed out, slept like a baby.

Saturday: Expected to sleep late (the stupid cat was screeching at 7 a.m. about absolutely nothing - she had her food and water), woke up early, was greeted by my son who thought I was going to work (when he found out I wasn't, he went back to sleep), vacuumed, fed everyone, took a shower, waited for my daughter's godmother to come over to babysit, went to Brooklyn for the Mocha Man event, got stuck in traffic, got to the event late, met Shon Gables, shook hands, ate food, passed out business cards but spoke more about this blog, got my t-shirt (pictured above) as swag, took a coworker/friend home before the skies opened up, spent three hours driving home through a storm that turned a bright sky pitch black in fifteen minutes, made hot dogs and fries for my son, my daughter's godmother and myself, fed the baby toddler food, shopped for bags online for my wife (see comments for Father's Day Part II), convinced my daughter's godmother not to go to Queens in the storm, gave her sheets and a towel so she could crash in the living room, watched television until the television watched me, went to sleep.

Sunday/Father's Day: Got up early to go to church but my daughter picked Sunday to start throwing tantrums after a 3-day reprieve and my son refused to get up (and I don't believe in going to church mad), was jealous of my daughter's godmother who did go to church, got over it, got dressed for the day, put on my new t-shirt, got the baby dressed, told my son to get dressed, took the baby to the store to buy diapers, rounded up the son to go to IHOP, laughed as brother and sister (12 & 2) fought the entire way there, endured a 40 minute wait for a table, ate Pigs in a Blanket (as I have since the age of 6 - only now I swap in turkey sausage for $1 more), chuckled when my son said, "Oh yeah, Happy Father's Day," watched him devour chocolate chip pancakes, fought with my daughter to eat her Funny Face pancake (she didn't want to eat the face), received a call from the wife saying her flight was delayed, went home and slept the day away while the son played video games and eventually studied and read, woke up at 4, took the baby (whose hair at this point looked like a curly satellite dish) outside and sat on the front steps with her to discuss the trees and the flowers and my SUV (she insists it's her car), noticed that my wife's promised 3 o'clock arrival time had passed, got a call around 5 from the wife saying she had just landed, noticed it was 6 o'clock and she still hadn't arrived, fought back the urge to say, "I told you so," when she finally did arrive --- at nearly 7 o'clock at night, opened Father's Day cards that I heard her and my son signing in the dining room (she also left the receipt on the bed from the drugstore where she purchased them), learned that we're going away to New Orleans in July --- her treat --- with the rest of her family, went back to sleep for an hour, woke up to the baby patting my cheek and yelling, "Daddy, get up," went to a local Mexican restaurant --- her treat, came home, prepared the house and myself for Monday as I had been since the previous Wednesday in preparation for the start of the week. So in the end, the wife had no executable plans for Father's Day and she hasn't indicated that I'm in store for anything more than the Mexican salad I ate that night (which was very good).

I went to be with my "S" emblazoned on my chest.

Needless to say, I was thankful for the trip --- my Father's Day gift, but annoyed that my day came and went without me being able to do anything nice for myself as I had been threatened not to make plans. But the trip wasn't happening on Father's Day itself. My wife is an admitted control freak and controlling that which is out of our hands is where all mankind fails, but for some reason, God bless her, she keeps trying. I knew the odds were against her coming home at a decent time because she wasn't on a redeye and the airline industry just doesn't seem to be able to take care of its paying customers. But I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge taking the kids to IHOP was what brought me my joy as well as speaking to my own father about being a father.

When my wife arrived home she saw how clean and organized the place was and asked me how I managed to pull it off. Without bragging, I told her it had been that way starting one day after she left. Simple clean living on the borderline of being austere is who I am underneath all the hats I wear. The kids fed off that energy and simply got on board with me. They were generally behaved and I had the chance to read, listen to music and simply relax during my time as a single dad. I took advantage of the time I had to reinsert/reassert who I am into the fabric of our home. Over those few days I thought a lot about what it would be to do this whole daddy thing by myself. It was very quiet, being the only adult in the house, even though my kids screamed for most of the week. "I can do this," became my mantra as I began to make it from one day to the next.

I can do this. But I don't want to, not alone. My children need their mother's love and guidance. As do I (my wife's, that is).

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