when i was a kid, i really only saw my father on the weekends. usually sundays. i would sometimes hear him talking in the morning with my mother before he left for work, before she’d come in to get us up for school. maybe, maybe he was home for dinner at night. maybe i saw him on saturday. if he was here, he was in his office, usually with the door closed. on sundays, he’d get my brothers and i out in the yard under the guise of quality father-children time. he’d get us started raking and sweeping and then he’d go inside, situate himself on his maroon leather recliner with his bag of popcorn or his half gallon of blue bell or his mixing bowl filled with cereal and his diet coke and watch television. and if it were fall, it was football, but only if the cowboys were playing. otherwise he’d flip through the channels until he found a film that was just starting.
and we’d bitch and moan about how he said he was gonna do yardwork with us, and then left us there to do it ourselves.
it never occurred to me, then, how taxing my father’s job was. how that one day was his respite from all the bullshit with which he had to deal.
he wouldn’t like that i called it bullshit.
partly because he wouldn’t see it that way, but more because he hates it when i cuss.
i used to hate being the daughter of a school superintendent. probably as much as he hates my foul mouth. maybe more.
“hey jenny! tell your dad that we shouldn’t have school tomorrow!”
twelve years of public school. roughly one hundred eighty school days in the year. six periods in a day. i heard that crap in almost every class. my teachers looked to me to be some stellar student because my father was their boss.
i tried to skip class. once. one time i wanted to be that girl who said screw this shit. i’m not sitting through boring driver’s education. (i was that anomaly that didn’t want to drive a car.)
so i didn’t go.
and my teacher called my father wanting to know where i was.
my father had driven me to school that day.
i had driver’s ed first period. so he’d practically just dropped me off.
i got spanked for that. for ditching. for lying about it.
when i left my books in my locker because i didn’t care to complete an assignment and i was failing the class (which my father knew because my teachers would tell him so), he’d haul my butt to school, unlock the doors, shut off the alarm and make me get my shit. and then my mother would practically stand over my shoulder to make sure that i got it done.
i got caught shoplifting. the manager gave me two choices: she could call the cops or she could call my mom. and headlines flashed before my eyes: superintendent’s daughter caught stealing. uh, you can call my mom. thanks.
i think i got spanked for that, too. for being stupid.
it sucked having a super for a dad.
or so i thought.
there’s another superman film in theaters again. another reboot. with another actor trying to prove his worth. i don’t need to see that. i live with superman.