Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day

Father's Day!  All the self-absorption of birthdays, plus the expectation that relative strangers should acknowledge it!

There's more to it than that, of course.  If there's one thing parenthood points out to the recently initiated, it's that it's not about you anymore.  You are merely incidental to the arrival and progress of the child.  Heads snap away from you and turn towards the babe.  And that's all right.

I had a pretty darn good first Father's Day.  In the morning I woke up early to run a 5 mile race to benefit prostate cancer research.  It was hotter than hell, humid, sticky, and the run was unpleasant.  Sweaty shirt thwapping against my chest.  I took my time at the water breaks, took a few steps at mile 4 to regroup for the last push.  Even though my time wasn't particularly good, I was proud that I held up muscle-wise and breathing-wise -- it was just the heat that got to me, but that's always the case.

The highlight of the race was seeing Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), an amiable, Biden-esque blowhard, who made a few remarks before the race started.  He also invited all of us to give him five as we started the race.  So I jogged over to the side of the pack and made my way to the good senator, who stood there with an open palm and a funny grin on his face as runners slapped him five and moved along.  I keep hoping someone will ask me, "Hey, have you high-fived any U.S. senators this week?", but as usual people are pretty self-absorbed and nobody seems too interested.

The rest of the day continued along this plateau of excellence.  My brilliant wife gave me a Chipotle gift card, earmarked for exclusive use when I'm enjoying some alone time.  Alice gave me a "Hop On Pop" pop-up book, and L even manipulated her tight little fists so that she "signed" the card and labeled the envelope.  It was wonderful.  Here she is signing the card:

We went downtown for lunch at Stand, walking through the soupy air with the baby strapped on my chest like a totem of parenthood.  A nice lady on the subway wished me happy father's day.  We stopped at the bookstore and they were very kind about it, too.  After we made our way back home I escaped to Chipotle by myself for a little bit, enjoying fountain Coke and reading Dave Eggers' "Zeitoun."  Along my walk I listened to Drake's "Find Your Love," which is quickly becoming my song of the summer, and thought about my great good fortune.

For dinner L made me salmon, asparagus, macaroni and cheese, and salad.  We had a little bit of ice cream for dessert.  We watched some television.  And eventually we went to bed in our sweltering apartment, the ceiling fans spinning in their taut, chaotic orbits, the curtains billowing inwards with gusts of warm night air and the dull regular groan of the train, lying under thin cotton sheets, listening for any cries from the baby's room, anticipating another day of heat, of family, of a baby.  It's a new kind of summer.


Anonymous said...

Happy (belated) Father's Day! Great post and photographs. It sounds like you and the family had a nice holiday.

By the way, I knew the Alice "signing" photograph was a fake; she typically wears bifocals with a chain around her neck. Although she shares my problem with spewing spittle excitedly whenever she writes.


Kim said...

yay! Happy first father's day! I need to come hang out with you guys again sometime.