I’m not going to bother trying to pinpoint an exact 60-minute span that constitutes The Dadding Hour, because it varies from week to week and really refers more to a chunk of time than an actual trip around the clock (you know, like how The Witching Hour might be from 4 to 10), but it…
We all know those parents.
Their perfect offspring never tantrums, learned to read before Kindergarten, kicks a soccer ball better than Beckham, and has artistic skills to rival Picasso.
You stand beside the swing set, nodding your head as they gush about their child’s seemingly inhuman accomplishments. If you’re nicer than me, you’re thrilled that such a talented individual will lead the next generation. If not, your internal monologue goes something like this: Your kid is eating boogers. Right now
I called him every year on her birthday, to tell him the same thing. How she was doing, where we were, my unchanged contact information. I considered this an open invitation to our lives – but all of this information was left on his voicemail, and he never returned my call. On her eighth birthday, I was met with the automated nonworking phone number message, and resorted to email, giving me a better venue for my case. I wrote that we were at the cusp of the land of teenage Anna, and it was a perfect opportunity to change his mind. He could have a relationship with his daughter. He could help with the more difficult questions by simply showing up.
The novice teacher had originally thought that Brownie was a wonderful idea: teach responsibility, kindness, and what else? She couldn’t quite recall anymore, because making sure that the little thing was fed and watered over the weekends was starting to get old. It was time to allow some lucky child the opportunity to acquire a pet. Let their parents handle the smell.