My Baby Daddy

Other Father

Have you seen Coraline? It’s one of Max’s favourite movies, and mine.

Spoiler alert! In the movie, Coraline – an 11-year-old girl with busy parents who ignore her – discovers a secret door in her apartment and crawls through into a parallel universe. There, she finds her “Other Mother” and “Other Father,” who treat her like a princess. But all is not what it seems… Muhahahaha.

Okay, I’m getting off track. Truth is, I’m only bringing this movie up because I, too, have an Other Father. (Oh, and Coraline’s Other Father sings a totally wicked song: Listen to it.)

As you know, my father – the original one – is off in his own parallel universe. Which he often was in life too, come to think of it. (If you knew Jim Combden, you know I speak the truth.)

And today, Father’s Day, surely you expected me to be writing all about him. Some tear-jerking tribute to the man who taught me to put pen to paper in the first place.

But no. Not this Father’s Day.

This Father’s Day, I’m writing about my Other Father.

I returned to work after maternity leave in April, 2010. Just three months after dad died. Talk about a cyclone of emotion. Losing my dad… Leaving my baby for someone else to care for all day long… And don’t get me started on the hemorrhoids… WTF?! The first morning I walked back in to the office, I thought the place was empty, but everyone was just hiding under their desks in case I was wielding a rifle.

I remember asking a question to my friend and colleague/cartoonist, Kevin Tobin, who posted this in this weekend’s Evening Telegram, by the way. He nailed the noble Combden nose pretty good.

Kevin had already lost both his parents. I asked him something like – What do I do now with dad gone? What happens when they’re both gone? Who am I then? What the fuck, Kevin? WHAT THE FUCK!?

(By the way, KT is not my Other Father. In case you were going there in your head.)

After I stopped shaking him like I was getting crumbs out of a toaster, he did give me a bit of fatherly advice that I have never forgotten. He looked me right in the crazy mom-eye and said, “Now, you focus on your own family. You are the parent. Max is the child. Life goes on.”

But, but, but… I’m just a baby! WAAAAAAAAH! 

That’s how I felt inside. But I knew he was right.

So today, my third consecutive fatherless day, instead of whining on about dad for a thousand years, I write about my Other Father.

Not my Other Father, per se.

But the Other Father in my world.

The father who matters most now.

Because he is helping me raise this crazy kid. Helping me shape this fiery lunatic into a decent human being who helps old ladies cross the street and says no to drugs and becomes a neurosurgeon to help supplement mommy’s pension and shoe collection.

And because he’s here. As lovely as my tributes to Jimmy Combden are, he can’t hear me. (And no, religious freaks, I really don’t think he can. And I’m okay with that.)

The Other Father can hear me. (Although I do think his hearing is on the fritz at times, especially during NHL and PMS.)

The Other Father is this fool right here.

Patient husband. (Phew.)

Kind soul. (Ask anybody.)

And a damn fine partner at Turbo Ginger Incorporated.

For a more in-depth, stalker-esque glimpse into my husband and his kick-ass parenting skillz, click here.

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You are my sonshine.

So. It’s been a while. I was on vacation. In a dingy little place called the Writer’s Block. And, most recently, Florida, with my gal pal Senorita Kimberlita. At first, I wasn’t going to blog about my travels. I mean, what does going to Florida have to do with motherhood? As it turns out, quite a bit.

First of all, there were storks everywhere. If I wasn’t doubling up on the BCPs these days, I’d be peeing on a stick right now. Or beating Andrew with a bigger stick. Fertile bastard.

Second of all, I missed my boy. I wasn’t sobbing or anything, hells no. But I did have some thoughts as I was leaving the house at 4:30am to catch my flight, peeking in at my little copper-haired prince in sweet slumber, gently stroking the curls that adorn his perfect forehead, squeezing one last splurge of love from his meaty little arm before I headed for the door. He crossed my mind again when I was 30,000 feet in the air, looking down at the sea of clouds. You know the feeling. That little surge of dread… What if I never see him again? Hey, it happens.

But the feeling was short-lived, thanks to Max’s daddy – the Mac Daddy of daddies – and his network of helping hands: Auntie Linda (Max’s babysitter) and her sidekick Uncle Rex, Nanny 1, Nanny 2, Great Aunt Peggy, and the one and only Poppy Murphy. Anyone else nurture/entertain/protect my boy while I was away? If so, add your name to aforementioned list and accept my deepest gratitude. Knowing Max was in such awesome hands enabled me to immerse myself in sun, sand, seafood and shopping for seven days. It was perfectly relaxing, because I was in good company, and because Max was too.

Seriously, my vacation was virtually worry-free.

Well, except for the part where I got apprehended at Customs for having an apple in my knapsack. A Canadian apple?! Off with her head! They led me away to a special room for the dregs of society and interrogated me. What else are you hiding in your luggage, ma’am? I almost wished I had packed a bucket of salt meat and a ten-pound bag of potatoes. Whipping that out and seeing the looks on their mean faces… the jail time would have been worth it. The funniest part was looking toward the door and seeing Kim being escorted in behind me; she had a bejesus apple in her bag too.

And the part where the GPS led us through the darkest and shadiest areas of St. Pete. Kim kept re-locking the doors. I felt like we were on an episode of Cops. The Stupid Newfie Special. Figures – Kim had the GPS on the Rape-Me setting.

And the part where I got hit in the thumb by a bee. Or did my thumb hit a bee in the bum? I was dancing through the parking lot by the condo when WHAM something got me right in the hitchhiker. Mother Nature’s way of telling me to not quit my day job, I suppose; I am no swan. It hurt like a mother fu… blogger.

I’m guessing the bee got the worst of it.

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Valentine’s Day… meh.

Okay, so it’s a little late to write about Valentine’s Day. It took me a week to shake off the sugar coma. I literally just put down a box of chocolates in order to pick up a pen. Or laptop, whatev. Some people are more creative on marijuana; my drug of choice is the choc. (Some people utilize both of nature’s gifts, hence “special brownies”, which I have never tried by the way except maybe twice.) It’s the glucose working its brain-boosting magic. But it’s short-lived, of course. The sugar rush wears off and I return to my dark place that I wish was made of cocoa but nope – it’s just darkness.

V-Day. Who came up with this day that, abbreviated, sounds more like a disease you contracted in college? Hallshey, that’s who. (Hallmark + Hershey = the Valentine’s Day conspiracy.) Seriously, it’s an excuse to fatten our asses – and the wallets of those freakin’ magicians at Lindt. It’s a time to buy insanely overpriced greeting cards, 90% of which say what you could have easily said yourself for zero dollars and 18 seconds of actual self-induced thought. Why not put $5 in an envelope with a handwritten note that says “I almost spent this $5 on a stupid card but I thought it’d be better off in your pocket next to your cute little crotch.” There ya go – next year’s card for your spouse, done. Valentine’s Day is rationale to buy new earrings and pretend your husband bought them even though he secretly thinks you’re a total imbecile for buying yet another frivolous item that could have paid for six months of the NHL network and 12 wobbly pops to boot.

Or maybe this is just the voice of a woman whose husband is not exactly the romantic type anymore. Sure, he has his moments, but beyond the occasional loving squeeze, chivalry is dead. Okay, I won’t be that drastic; it’s on life support. And no, honey, slapping my ass does not constitute romance. How about I slap your ass while you’re washing the dishes while simultaneously polishing your Vicki shrine and desperately seeking a medical breakthrough that enables men to give birth?

But alas, I am not the same spontaneous tart I once was either. Responsibility has sucked the fun out of me, I guess. If only stress was a turn-on; that’d be deadly…

“Honey, the property tax is due. $950. Yay. Whip out the checkbook – and those sexy satin pajamas I like. I’m gonna dip my pen in your inkwell.”

“Babe, Max is crying again. I just adore the sound of his frantic wailing, don’t you? Let’s make out.”

“I gotta work again this weekend, honey. Bow chicka wow wow. I get so randy when I’m overworked. It’s like the exhaustion actually makes me love you more!”

I may not be quite the free spirit I once was, but hey, I’ll always be crazy. Crazy is fun, right?

“You’re mad, bonkers… but I’ll tell you a secret – all the best people are.” The Mad Hatter… holla!

Relationships change and evolve; it’s just the way the cookie crumbles. (Mmm, cookies.) Because people change and evolve, and so we should. This is why, in my humble opinion, it’s wise to wait to get married until you’re 30-ish; we are constantly changing, especially during our 20s when we are trying to find out who we are and what the hell we’re doing here. We are still changing now, in our 30s, 40s, 50s, etc.

But I guess as long as the essence of who we are stays the same, then we love the one we’re with and support each other through the constant evolution of life. Lord knows it’s not easy; a good, honest, reliable, kind and entertaining copilot is a necessity and a blessing if you should be lucky enough to find such a creature. Through thick and thin, boredom and challenge, sickness and health (including the dreaded chocolate overdose), we keep the love alive in all its glorious imperfection.

So I dedicate this post to my man-thing. But I apologize, this next part is recycled. This is a poem I wrote and recited at our wedding. Yes, I really did. All class, baby. Love it or leave it.

REASONS…
For being happy to see me after a short time apart.
For sharing things with me, like your dreams, and your farts.
For calling me at 4am in an inebriated state.
For boldly trying to tongue me on our first freakin’ date.

For telling me you love me though I already know.
For nagging me incessantly when I’m being too slow.
For holding my hand firmly whenever we walk.
For always looking cute, like a furry beanstalk.

For embracing my weirdness instead of running for the hills.
For being right smart with your scientific skills.
For your great sense of humor and getting all my jokes.
For knowing the Heimlich maneuver. You know, in case I choke.

For never taking for granted the woman that you’ve got.
Or the lunatic I tend to be more often than not.
For being a man of outward affection.
For being tall and trim, like a human erection.

For calling me piggy every day of the week
and expressing your love with an occasional reeeeek!
For, in spite of your white boy rhythm, loving to dance and sing.
For making sleeping in a wonderful thing.

For taking me out for fancy meals, like Ches’s.
For preferring me in sweats instead of girly dresses.
For telling me to relax just to get a rise out of me.
For farts so high-pitched, they always surprise me.

For your scruffy unshaved face that gives me a rash.
For supporting me with your spirit instead of mere cash.
For being a loyal friend. For loving our dog.
For being a big fat remote control hog.

For having the cutest little muffin-like bum.
For forgetting every damn thing under the sun.
For unhooking my bra every chance you get.
For doing chores willingly, with only a scatter death threat.

For your great enthusiasm and lust for life.
For having all the makings of a good little wife.
For being a worthy opponent in a battle of wit.
For being somebody I wouldn’t change a bit.

For hanging the tree lights with anal perfection.
For sharing with me your wicked beer bottle collection.
For appreciating the sarcasm of the previous line.
For being the perfect other half in this two-of-a-kind.

For giving me things that simply can’t be bought.
These are the reasons I love you. Hey, how could I not?

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