I read my son a bedtime story tonight. I tucked him in, kissed him on his cheek, and as I was about to get up to let him begin his night’s slumber, he quietly said,
“Daddy, I love you. You make me happy.”
Shit. Here’s the thing.
- thinks I’m funny.
- thinks I’m cool.
- has fun with me.
- has eyes that still light up when I come home from work.
- still needs me after a nightmare.
- thinks I’m an expert cereal maker.
It bothers me when he compliments me unsolicited. In fact, it can be downright heart-breaking. I don’t know if I deserve it, and I am not saying that to be reassured, I’m saying it to be weary.
Because to me, he is a cute kid until 12…then he becomes a CPA on how I have raised him. It will be parental tax season and he will eventually audit based on his findings.
Nothing will go unaccounted for.
Every detail will enter his mind, the documents and findings will all add up and he will nail me. Every receipt of love, hate, grounding, punishment, reward, etc will be put under a microscope. He will then have it fact checked again at 18, mid-20′s, 30′s. I may be able to slide by for a few years, but one day he will pull out a rubber stamp, lube it in bright red ink, and post-
I have made up my mind that one day I will serve 25-to-life for father fraud.
“No. There has to be a mistake. A miscalculation? Did you carry the 1? I’m not the Wesley Snipes of procreation.”
My crackpot team and I went over them, Dad. -Pause- Tell me about 2008.
“What about it? You were two, and walking, and adorable.”
Yeah, I’m sure. So, how much were you drinking at work during 2008, huh? Few beers with lunch?
“What did I mark in the box?”
I pulled it from accounting and on our MD 20/20 form for 2008, you checked the box, “Couple of beers with lunch.”
“That must have been it then.”
Your receipts show different.
“My mistake I guess, I mean, maybe it was 3 or 4 instead?
A whole 12 pack. Daily.
“Am I going to jail?”
No. You’ll pay a penalty of taking me and my friends to the skating rink tonight, and I want the new iPhone 12s.
You’re suspect, old man…
Like every person who commits fraud I feel I’ve dodged a bullet with only one of my inconsistencies having light shed on it.
You sit there and think:
“Well, that was bad, but at least they didn’t find out about-”
What’s this in 2009 about you and my mom splitting up?
“That? What about it. It was mutual. We both agreed that we needed a br-”
You filled out form 1090R that states, “Split due to mutual agreement.”
Mom’s records show form 1140Z, “Dad’s a douche who can’t keep his dick in his pants.”
“I must have grabbed the wrong paper at the post office or something.”
Then looked at porn.
Do you know what fraud is, Dad? Or do you really think you can use naivety as duck tape to patch every answer and problem? Do you ever take credit and just admit to your faults? Is this how I should grow up to be?
Eventually, toys won’t bail me out. Feeding the ducks won’t always make him smile after a bad day. Ice cream can’t fix everything.
It’s not like I will ever hurt him physically. I will never abandon him. I will never not try and take care of him, or talk down to him. Ever. Seriously…ever. I also will never, ever, be too busy.
- I will ground him for staying out too late and not calling.
- I will say something hurtful that I do not mean in a moment of stress.
- I will work too much some weeks.
- I will work too little.
- I will lie.
- I will stand firm on a ruling or punishment for him that he disagrees with.
I’m worried about how effective I will be as a father when he has more of a life-problem than just a skinned knee. Me putting an Ironman band-aid on a problem won’t get you into a good college.
My son growing up means I have to grow up. Being a father shouldn’t mean that at anytime the Wizard could be exposed to Dorothy. My son will always be aware that I’m a smart-ass and I never want him caught off guard by my actions. It is the only thing I can successfully guarantee.
My son will know who I am in the end, faults and all.
“What? My Dad robbed a bank for millions of dollars and got away with it? Then fled to Tahiti?
Yeah, he just got caught.
“He blogged about it, didn’t he? What a fucking homo.”
P.S.- I love you too. You make me happy.