One of the great things Improvising Fatherhood has done for me is given my father and I a lot to talk about. My parents live in the Midwest and I live on the West coast, and IF helps them stay connected to their grandson as he grows up. But IF is also keeping me more connected to my father, which is a really nice bonus.
Here is what my dad had to say about a recent post. I’ve added a few notes to give context to his comments:
Thanks for the kind words. I truly hope that you have a decisive moment with Chandler, like the one I had with you, when you were about 7, at the McDonald’s in Laurence, Kansas, standing in line with 10 other boys from Grand Slam Camp (a baseball camp run by my father’s indoor batting cage business) who were twice your age, and who had recently had their tails kicked by you in Eliminator (a ground ball fielding contest).
“Dad (in a whispered tone), what should I order?”
“Same as always. Jimmy, don’t touch him there.” (apparently Jimmy, one of the other kids, was touchy)
“But Dad, what should I get? “
“WHAT! Just order a Happy M….(suddenly realizing your predicament), Okay, when it’s your turn to order (now I’m whispering) get 2 cheeseburgers, french fries, and a coke.”
It was your first regular meal at McDonald’s, and given the group you were with, it was obviously your only choice. Say goodbye to the Hamburgler toy inside the Happy Meal and hello to saving face with the big boys. And I thank God that I finally understood the REAL meaning of, “Dad, what should I order?”
I remember this moment very well. I don’t remember Jimmy touching the other kids, but I remember getting out of the van and walking in with all the big kids. I had ALWAYS had Happy Meals. But I couldn’t get a Happy Meal today. That would make me look like a baby. And, as my Dad pointed out, I had just whooped all these older boys in a baseball competition. I had earned their respect. A Happy Meal would just have taken me back to square one.
I remember being very grateful for my Dad’s understanding in this situation. And I remember being pissed because the Happy Meal toy was REALLY cool that day.