Defending Dads

You're doing your jobs. You and your kids deserve better.


The kids had me for the weekend. They worked me like a pizza oven at Domino’s. My legs feel like they’ve been holding up the Brooklyn Bridge. After I scooped them up from school Friday, the program ran like so:

The kids’ sensai hosted a social at a local trampoline park…and I participated. I had the nerve to ride a mechanical bull! I flung myself around with the kids and watched in awe as some jumpers somersaulted and back-flipped like circus performers. Then, we hosted sensai for dinner, which took 45 minutes to prepare and another half-hour to eat. No one saw a bed that night before 10:30 PM.

Saturday morning, we dragged ourselves out of bed and hit the community center so I could squeeze in a work out before their karate class at 10:45 AM. After class, the kids made themselves brunch before we hit the road for IKEA. The store closest to us is in Elizabeth, New Jersey, which is definitely an “are we there yet?” type ride. It’s a good thing somebody built an airport over there; it served as a handy distraction for bored kids who vowed to eschew electronic devices for that day.

Once inside IKEA, the kids expressed more interest in the furniture than I anticipated. This was troubling because I am a purposeful, rather impatient shopper uninterested in the most dazzling displays. The kids demanded we walk through multiple room mock-ups. Amid many oohs and aahs, they played with the props, read all the signs and collected brochures while I attempted transcendental meditation to maintain my composure. Of course, there were also the requisite restroom stop and earnest appeals for snacks left half-eaten.

Three hours and ten miles later, we exited the store to cooler weather and a setting sun. We all figured the sun had the right idea. I hit the interstate like I left a roast in the oven and, once home, I didn’t need to sing them any lullabies.

Sunday started out at a slower pace. After breakfast, my daughter and I napped while my son constructed his Minecraft village on Xbox. Soon enough, though, he declared himself ready for a round of miniature golf. My whistful dream of a lazy afternoon evaporated like morning dew. And after miniature golf and a picnic, we came back to the neighborhood to discover a group of their pals running around. What could I do? I rolled my eyes, threw up my hands and accepted my fate.

Tonight, I’m shrugging my shoulders before I lapse into a coma. Given the chance, I’d do twice those activities on half the energy. Best of all, I wrote today — I didn’t break my discipline.


Joscelyn Mina Rose


Darker Days


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