In the span of 24 hours, I received eight – count em, EIGHT – comments about my children. Which is funny, because it’s been a while since I’ve gone through the process of having sex, then asking, “so…have you peed on that stick yet, honey?” before I finally, oh you know, HAD A KID!
I should be used to this by now. And then with Colton only being six, I naturally am assumed to be his father when it’s just the two of us out and about. But Julianne is nine. Clay is thirteen. This means that if Clay was my son, I would have had to have him when I was Julianne’s age. I don’t think my 4th grade days were THAT wild and crazy.
It started when I took Juls and Clay to the dentist. Two school helpers, two nurses and one doctor later, I knew we were going to be in for a long day. By the time we’d walked out of the dentist and into the mall, I’d given up on correcting people and just started playing along: “Huh, what? Oh, Clay? Yeah, he’s a great kid, thanks. I tell ya, I can’t wait for him to grow up and start making the big bucks though, because I want to retire and let him take care of me as soon as possible!” or “Your daughter is precious as well. My little Julianne over there is a sweetheart. You should see the adorable little bracelets she makes for me. She can’t cook or clean worth a damn, but I’ll beat it into her eventually.”
And this isn’t the only misguided assumption people make about me. Last week, my mom and I were mistaken for boyfriend-girlfriend far too many times and while that may be a huge compliment to her looking young and fresh, it raises far too many Freudian issues that I would just soon rather forget. But I think the real kicker came today. The kid’s babysitter, who has got to be in her 70s, called the school and when they called back, I picked up the phone and was greeted with, “Hello, is this Clay’s father? Well, your wife called earlier”… I mean, sure, who doesn’t like older women? I just prefer mine not be on Medicare yet.
But the other night made it all worthwhile. Juls came home begging me to take her and a friend to the local skating rink since her school was having a fund raiser for a few hours. I had plenty of work to do and was kind of tired, but I could tell she really wanted to go. She spent a few minutes picking out her clothes and packing her little purse and when we arrived, she paid and got her own skates. It was around this time that she finally told me she had no idea how to skate.
Her friends tried to teach her, but after 20 minutes I could tell this wasn’t going anywhere and when I walked over to her, I could tell she was discouraged and embarrassed and ready to leave. So I did the only thing I knew to do; I went and grabbed a pair of skates myself, laced up, and as soon as I stepped into the rink, the number of people who had no idea what they were doing doubled. I never learned to skate since the skating rink near where I grew up was a tad redneck and hillbillyish. (Although, now that I think about it, every skating rink I’ve ever set foot in has fallen into that category). Juls was still grabbing onto the side, so I pulled her out into the middle with me and for the next hour and a half we twirled around like idiots and fell down approximately every seven seconds. But the whole time, we had these giant grins on our faces and by the end, Juls was getting the hang of it.
As everybody was putting their skates away and getting their coats on, one of the moms sitting nearby came up to me and said:
Hey, I wish I’d had a dad like you while growing up. Mine would have just sat over there in the corner and shouted instructions to me until I started crying.
Ok, so I guess there are worse things than being mistaken for a dad.