The time a father spends with his family in the contemporary Malibu family is very insignificant, particularly if he commutes to work on PCH.
The thing that impresses me about Malibuites is the way the parents obey their children. On this Father’s Day I wish to tell my son I love him even though I found it strenuous to obey him. Saying I love you is not as easy to do when your baby is 26 as it was when he was six-years-old.
My son, John, had a great deal of difficulty teaching me how to be a father and how to show my love, but I think he enjoyed it. I still take pleasure in his company and the infrequent games of golf or pool, now that he is married. I still delight in hearing his “I love you dad.” It makes life so much easier because he says it at just the right time.
I have become skilled at many things learned from my son over the years. Things like frankness, a sense of worth and consequence. Things like a king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 square-foot house four inches deep. That if you whirl the crystal chandelier to see the dancing colors on the wall it will in due course become unscrewed from the ceiling support and crash on the dining room table. That a three-year-old’s voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant. If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42-pound boy wearing Batman underwear and a superman cape. I learned that a ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way and the glass in windows (even double pane) doesn’t stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.
John taught me that when you hear the toilet flush and the words “Uh-oh”, it’s already too late. He established that Legos could pass through the digestive tract of a four-year-old and into the septic tank where they will later jam the pumping services hose along with a missing electric razor. As a six-year-old he showed me that you could start a fire with a flint-rock even though a 32-year-old father, me, says they can only do it in the movies. He proved that a magnifying glass could singe a slumbering dog’s hairs even on an overcast day. He demonstrated that Play-Dough and Microwave should never be used in the same sentence. That Super-glue is forever. Or no matter how much Jell-O you put in the fishpond you still can’t walk on water. Or that goldfish do not like Jell-O.
I learned from John, that garbage bags do not make decent parachutes. That marbles in hubcaps make oodles of noise when driving. Or that from a nursery school a youngster can get suspended. That a parent should always look in the oven before you turn it on and that plastic toys do not like ovens. That fire station #71 in Malibu has a five-minute response time to our house. Finally, the spin-cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy, but it will, however, make cats dizzy and that cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.
Maybe, there is no lastly, because I’m still gaining wisdom from John. Fatherhood is an expedition and excursion. With John as a son, it has been an escapade.
On this Father’s Day resolve to become skilled at being a dad who satisfies the souls of your children as well as their stomachs. Be a dad who kisses their hurts and dresses their spirit. The values I used in raising my child are not mine. I borrowed them from Socrates. I swiped them from Monsignor Sheridan. I stole them from Jesus. I even pilfered a few from Doug O’Brien. The Lord knows that my wife had regulations of her own. If you don’t like their rules, who’s rules would you use. Happy Father’s Day.
And that is all I have to say.