Over the weekend I took part in an unexpected event that truly opened my eyes to what fatherhood should be all about. Let me lay it out for you.
This past Sunday was my Fantasy Football league’s draft. I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Who cares about Fantasy Football?” I mean, it’s a bunch of grown-ass men obsessing about every movement of other grown-ass men wearing tight pants and helmets. I get why a lot of people think it’s dumb. That said, it’s important for me to say that I don’t just “like” Fantasy Football. I’m obsessed with it. Just like anything in life, I always play to win – and I’m the defending champion of my ultra-competitive league. Granted, my league isn’t nearly as competitive as this league, but it’s still up there.
Where the hell am I going with this?
Oh yeah, so I’m the champ of my ultra-competitive and I intend on keeping it that way. Because of that, my draft is always a no-kids allowed zone. That means no kids sitting on my lap, no Dora The Explorer on the flatscreen, no kids in the same room with me – NO KIDS, period. Those of you who’ve been here for a while know how much I love my girls, so you also know I mean business here. Quite frankly, the two hours of my league’s draft are the only two hours of the year when I feel this way.
Even though it’s only for two hours out of the year, I still feel really guilty about it and this year was no different. To get my “Daddy Fix” in, I decided to take the Family Doin’ Work to a local fair to enjoy some fun and sunshine in the afternoon and attend my draft in the evening.
After riding on the Merry-Go-Round a few times, I pushed DDW1′s stroller next to the Radio Disney booth. Right as we pass the DJ, he gets on the mic to say, “Any Carly Rae Jepsen fans in the house? If so we’re offering four free tickets to see her in concert! All you have to do is win a parent-child dance contest to ‘Call Me Maybe’ and they’re yours!”
I was with my twin brother at the time (Editor’s Note: You know my twin brother Shola, right? If you don’t, you should. He’s an excellent blogger and quite handsome too), and he gave me the “unspoken twin cue” to throw my hat in the ring and do that shit.
Following my pattern from earlier, DDW1 doesn’t just “like” Carly Rae Jepsen, she’s obsessed with her. When ‘Call Me Maybe’ comes on the radio, girlfriend freaks the eff out and dances like a mongoose on crack. So, I had a split second to make a very important decision:
OPTION #1: “Nah, I’m not doing that. She’s too young to understand the concept of tickets and concerts anyway. I can just play the song for her on my iPod. Also, I’m not going to make an ass out of myself in front of these people. I have an image to look after.”
OPTION #2: “Fuck it. My kid probably doesn’t understand the concept of tickets and concerts yet, but she will after we win this competition. Is there a better way to spend time with my daughter than to dance like idiots in front of all of these people? Game on.”
By now, I’m sure you know what option I chose. Unfortunately, since it was a parent-child team competition, I had to make sure my toddler was on board. I bent down to her eye level and we had the following conversation.
Me: “Hey Love Bug, we have a cool opportunity to win tickets to see your favorite musician in concert, but I’m going to need your help, OK?”
DDW1: “OK Daddy.”
Me: “We’re going to dance! Wanna dance??”
DDW1: “No, Daddy! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
***The DJ gives me the universal “are-you-in-or-out?” glare***
Me: “Please, kiddo? You’ll thank me later, trust me.”
Me: “OK, we’re in!”
DDW1 seemed skeptical at first, but once the music started playing she went into “That Zone.” If you’re not familiar with what “That Zone” is, visit a trendy dance club in your town and find the skinny kids twirling glowsticks to that “Uncha Uncha Uncha Uncha” club beat music. Then you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about. Anyway, we started dancing together and my baby girl took the lead. Eventually the DJ said, “Alright, some of you need to separate yourselves from the pack. I want to see something original, as in something I’ve never seen before! GO!”
That’s when I did this.
I put DDW1 on my back and transformed into Beast Mode. Of course the kid had no clue what’s going on at this point, but I had to do my thing.
The DJ was impressed.
At the end of the song, there was another parent-child team that made it to the finals with us. To ensure everything was fair, we were asked a trivia question about Carly Rae Jepsen, and my twin brother took video of it all. Check it out to see what happened.
Yes, we won.
As I surveyed the crowd, I noticed that many people fell into one of two categories:
CATEGORY #1: “Pfft. What a buffoon. How does it feel to know you made an ass out of yourself to win tickets to a Teeny Bopper concert? Loser.”
CATEGORY #2: “I LOVE that this guy did all of this for his daughter. He must really love her.”
It doesn’t really matter to me. I may be a buffoon to some and a hero to others, but I’m just a guy who wants to make long-lasting memories with his children without worrying what others think of him. I mean, isn’t that what parenthood is all about anyway? I will never take myself seriously. Never.
When I strapped DDW1 into her stroller, I got down to her eye level to explain how we won tickets to see her favorite musician. I received another blank stare and some, “I wan ta dance some more, Daddy! I wan ta daaaaaaaaaanccccceee!”
Like I said, she’ll thank me later.
When I finally had a moment to reflect, I thought about how that day had two differing themes. On one hand, there’s the dad who asks for two completely child-free hours during his Fantasy Football draft, on the other hand is the dad who dances like a fool with his daughter in front of a crowd of strangers in hopes of winning some tickets to see Carly Rae Jepsen in concert.
Both dads are the same guy.
We need to find some child-free time for ourselves to do what WE love to do (whatever the hell that is) and we also need to push our boundaries to make long-lasting memories with our children (no matter how silly or embarrassing it can be). All of that is going to make us better parents and people to the folks who matter in our lives.
Now if I could find a way for DDW2 to sleep for more than an hour at a time at night.
If you have any ideas, could you call me, maybe?