Our Story Begins:


My daughter had to explain to her friends about the myriad of text messages.
“Is something wrong,” her colleague asked backstage at the theater in her school?
“No . . . it’s just my Dad,” she said.
“Is everything okay,” they asked?
“Yeah…he’s just bugging me with another ear worm song. Now it’s stuck in my head!”

My message said “three…hun…dred…six…ty…five…de…grees!”
They couldn’t believe she was then answering her father, writing: “burnin’ down the house!”

She saw the incredulous looks among her fellow collegians and realized something.

I’m not a normal Dad.

I know what you’re thinking . . . but no, it’s not because I’m a single Dad.  It’s not even because my wife passed away.

However, that has nothing to do with my abnormalities.

“Does your Dad not work,” they asked her?
“Yeah…he’s probably at his desk,” which I was, “and waiting for a video clip or editing,” which I was, “and just decided to do this.  It’s okay. I’ll get back at him later.” None of them could believe that her dad did stuff like this.

I realized after my daughter told me this story the scope of my abnormality.

I know a lot of the music they listen to. I know who Paramore is and 21-Pilots and PVRIS (which I intentionally mispronounce as Pervis to tick off my daughter). I have heard of ZZ Ward and new Adele had a new record coming out. I have seen most the animated movies out today and I know about the theater that world that interests my other daughter. I bake and cook and make up recipes. Then I turn around and buy the materials to fix my daughter’s bed or change the oil in my car.

Walk into my home and you find one room filled with guitars and amplifiers. There are two hanging in the living room, too. I have vinyl records because I never stopped listening to them, I keep acquiring them. Not because it’s cool, I just like it.  Again . . . abnormal.

I don’t do my kids’ homework for them. When they have class projects, they are their class projects. I will give advice I won’t do the work. I am terrible at math and bow to my two brothers who are amazing at it when my kids are stumped. Their work is theirs. I intervene when there is no option but if there’s an issue at school . . . the lesson for them is to try to fix it.  If that fails, then Dad gets involved. That doesn’t mean I’m not interested or distant. I know everything that’s going on I just am not going to fix everything. They are 21, 16, 12, and 12-years-old, respectively. They are now at the point they need to know how to function in society.

I don’t hobnob at school and I don’t socialize there, either.

I simply don’t have the time.

I mess up a lot. I screw up, stumble, fall, and admit all of it. I don’t want a perfect world just a world that good enough for us. We seem to be making that.

Related: Single Mom Slice of Life: Faux Failure

Then again, I play gigs in a band. I take the kids on adventures, text my kids almost more than their friends do and love having conversations with them. That said, I’ll stop the conversation blast that hits in quadrophonic cacaphony when I walk through the door so I can take off work hat and put on domestic hat.

I love my kids to the end of the earth, but they are not all my world, either. I work to put food on the table, that is important, too. I play music as part of my life and theirs and that’s important. It helped us heal.

I also embarrass, bug, lecture and am incessantly annoying in my pushing important messages to the kids. Not so abnormal there.

But then . . . we are an amazing five-sided picture of strength because we’re stronger together than when we’re apart.

And my kids hold their own in this abnormal world. . . as my daughter texts me later in the day:

“You don’t tug on Superman’s cape . . . you don’t spit in the wind.”

Damn. Now that song is stuck in my head!

How about you guys? Do you take the time to just do little things, be abnormal, with your kids?