2018-05-11 / Commentary

From Father to Funny Man

40–Something

I have stumbled upon another profound realization in this great parenting journey I’ve been on for the last 20- plus years. It seems—for the most part—I am no longer needed as the all-mighty, all-seeing, disciplinarian of the family, AKA The Father.

Admittedly, I was only ever really seen as those things when my kids didn’t know any better. But as soon as they spit out the pacifiers, they pretty much figured it out who I was.

However, I played my role as the father figure to the best of my ability and did okay for the most part. But now my kids are a lot older and much wiser.

One of my daughters is completing her sophomore year of college. The other one is graduating from high school, and my son is finishing his freshman year of high school.

At this point, they pretty much are who they are, and there’s not a whole lot I can do about it... with the possible exception of my son.

If he ends up anything like me at that age, then there will be plenty more fathering left for me to do. Fortunately, for both of us, other than an affinity for sophomoric humor, he’s nothing like I was back then.

So, where does that leave me?

For lack of a better description, I am now officially comic relief.

Such a shift in my parental duties near the top of the family food chain could be deemed as quite a demotion, but I don’t see it that way. I can still whip out the Dad Card when needed, but fortunately for me, I don’t need it all that often. It’s an incredible freedom knowing I can crack jokes instead of cracking the whip.

I suspect I won’t always have the freedom to request the pulling of my finger as any kind of solution to the serious scenarios to come, but I relish the role none the less.

My wife may have a different idea of our ever-evolving roles, but that’s only because my daughters bring most of their serious issues to her. I chime in when possible, but we’ve agreed that problems of women are best left to the experts.

I am certainly no expert in that arena.

On the flip side, I am expected to handle problems with my son. But unlike my daughters, who can spend hours talking to my wife about a multitude of things going on in their lives, my son is not much when it comes to “sharing.”

Ask him about his fantasy football team and he may blab on for hours, but ask him about school or his day, and I’m lucky to get a head nod and possibly a grunt.

As long as he’s in a good mood and doing well in school, then a grunt is just fine with me. It’s more freedom for the old man and something to joke about with the rest of the family.

So, before I get a visit from DSS, I know I’m not supposed to be Shucky the Clown Dad and subjecting my children to my jokes could be considered abuse in some corners of the parenting world, but let me be. I’ve earned this freedom, and that is no joke.

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