Monday, October 29, 2007

My Dad's From Planet Yo

It was a typical Saturday afternoon. My husband, Roy, was somewhere outside with Alec, my son who was almost eight years old – seven and three quarters to be exact. I was washing the dishes from the morning or maybe it was from the day or two before. “Why doesn’t that dish fairy ever visit my house?” I thought out loud hoping someone would one day hear me and do something about it.

Suddenly the front door opened and slammed shut. I could hear the footsteps running up the stairs and a loud odd sounding creek. It was definitely an attempt at slamming the door to make a point but the summer heat had expanded it making the door hard to close.

“All right, what happened now?” I could hear now hear Roy and Alec innocently giggling and chattering away about something in the garage. As I went up the stairs, I could hear the soft sobs coming from Stefanie’s room. My daughter had just turned 14, and I could never predict what may have set things off this time.

I pushed at the door, but it was stuck. I gave it my little hip bump, and it flew open. There she was. Her head was deep into her array of a dozen pillows. Her curly hair was sprayed across her back and her legs were dangling over the end of the bed.

I gave a quick look around the room. Was I this bad when I was her age? There were dirty clothes hanging over the back of the chair, crumpled up on the floor and sticking out from her closet. Her clean clothes still not put away from last week’s laundry basket were all rumpled up from the daily searches for the right clothes. This was all complemented by the fashion collage she had made from magazines that now completely covered a section of the wall.

I sat down next to her and put my hand on her back hoping the motherly energy would somehow surge from me and make her feel all better. I was amazed at how grown up she had become. And realized at times like this she was still my little girl.

Using the most caring tone I could find, I softly asked, “What happened?” only to be grunted at from below the mass of pillows. I gave it another try. “Why are you crying? What happened?” Finally, she slowly turned around and before saying a word, I noticed the huge pimple that had erupted on her forehead right dead center.

As any loving mother, I could not take my eyes off it.

“You’re just as bad as he is!” she screamed.

“I’m sorry”, I said trying to look anywhere else but her face. “OK, what did Daddy do this time?”

She looked at me with those teary big brown eyes and said with a slightly pained look, “He asked me who my friend is and then said that if they were staying for dinner to set another place.” Her voice was filled with anger. Then she suddenly looked relaxed.

We stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity. I don’t know who started first, but it went from chuckling to giggling to all out laughter. We started exchanging one-liners that made the original one sound tame.

“Do you share the same pillow at night?”
“Does it steal your covers?”
“Two heads are better than one”

And throughout this we kept laughing away.

We were interrupted by a soft tap at the door and we could hear the very apologetic sounding voice of Daddy asking “Everything okay….Yo?”

We both turned around ready to forgive him for his taunting when there he stood. His chubby face grinning. His arm was extended from behind reaching over the top of his head. And his index finger was pointing to the exact spot on his forehead where the pimple on my daughter’s forehead is.

Without hesitation, we both flung pillows at him as he ran out the door and down the stairs giggling in that odd big man sort of way. From downstairs, I could hear my 8 year old son asking “What’s going on? Is her pimple still there?”

“Mom! What are we going to do about Dad? I know he can be funny but sometimes I just want to…..”

“Stefanie. You gotta realize, we’re never going to change him. He’s been this way for twenty years. Some people may think it’s crazy but we’re stuck with him.”

“I know. I know. But I wonder how you picked him? , she chuckled. “I’ll just have to tell all my friends that my Dad’s from Planet Yo.”