SIR took a vacation day on Tuesday. It was his birthday present to himself. Little Cuter was at work, but that was okay. His plan was to spend the day with his daughter. He took her to swim class.
I don't remember my father ever taking a day off work to spend with me. I went into The City to his work when I had vacation days, but the notion of turning that on its head and having him follow me around on my daily rounds was never considered.
TBG never missed a game or a performance (for the most part), but he never took a whole day and spent it hanging with the kids. I was there. The babysitter was there. Work beckoned... and it was a workplace that took pride in the fact that the employees retired with years of vacation days in the bank. He never took a vacation without feeling guilty. The thought of being home and available when his colleagues were at their desks was filled with angst.
When Little Cuter spent a weekend in Texas, SIR was FlapJilly's primary caregiver. Daddy Day Care involved building forts and taking walks and going out to breakfast. Despite his co-workers' amazement, SIR didn't find it onerous. He was not, he reminded them, babysitting. It was his own child. He was parenting.
No one is keeping track of who does what in their house. Nominally, she's in charge of the inside, and he's in charge of the outside. But the garden is hers, and he is no stranger to the washing machine or the vacuum cleaner. If it needs to be done, it gets done. She cooks, he cleans, and no they don't need any help from me.
So, I sit and act like an honored guest. The fact that I am noisy when washing dishes might have something to do with it (I am the loudest loader of a dishwasher in the Western Hemisphere, I am sure). But it's more than that. They have established a routine and I'm just in the way.
Daddooooo did the dishes.... after he retired. When G'ma was working, he did the pots and pans. He was in charge of the barbecue, but only after G'ma had prepped the dish and presented it to him on a serving tray. He was good at removing splinters, but I have no memories of him giving me a bath or choosing my clothes before an outing. I would have been quite surprised had he offered either one.
For a nano-second of history, it felt as if we were living in a post-racial society. I've been disabused of that notion, although I have great hopes for The Cuters' generation. Ethnicity is never mentioned when Big Cuter relates his adventures in on-line dating. It's not an issue for him. FlapJilly's neighborhood is filled with children of all colors, and they shoot hoops and ride scooters and chase one another in a delightful mix of cultures that warms the cockles of my heart. And in the middle of all that fun, the dad's are there... supervising and smiling and being involved.
My granddaughter will grow up knowing that a black man can be President. She may watch America elect a woman to that office, too. She won't be surprised to see female Supreme Court Justices or police officers or fire fighters. She will expect the men she meets to treat her as a person, looking beyond her gender and into her character.
I credit her father for setting the example. My girl chose well.