Somewhere between the silly string, and water balloons, and face painting, and hair glitter, and confetti eggs, it hit me like a ton of bricks at the local school fun fair today. I’ve become a tween. No not my kids. Me. I’m the tween. I’m like the Disney channel. I’m like Justice the clothing store. I’m like Justin Bieber going through the awkward voice change. I’m halfway between the dad my kids want to hang out with and the dad my kids want to leave on a bench while they go off with their friends and have fun. I’m a tween and it sucks.
At the school fun fair today I was stood up for the Scrambler. My 8 year old daughter asked me to go on it. But then she spotted one of her friends and she dumped me. Dumped. The Scrambler is our thing. OUR thing. Mom won’t go on it because it makes her feel like throwing up. The kids used to be too little to go on it alone. So I was the guy. Not today. I was dumped. I was like Ducky in Pretty In Pink, the nice guy there for the girl, who gets left behind like a total dink. Then came my other daughter. My other daughter wanted me to watch her on the obstacle course and then on the swings and then she spotted another friend. And then SHE dumped me. Dumped. Ducky again. I became the wallet. I was relegated to the role of the go-to guy for cash and ride tickets and trips to the bathroom. I was the guy who was supposed to watch the kids from afar, and make sure they didn’t break any laws, but stay out of their hair why they did their own thing. Screw them and their growing up. It sucks.
I didn’t give birth to these kids but I certainly care for these kids. I help raise these kids, and teach these kids, and clothe these kids, and this is how they repay me. Next thing I know they’ll want to have sleepovers, and go to school dances, and dare I say it, actually date a boy. Then I’ll graduate from tween to dad-been. Yeh, it’s like a dad who’s a has-been. I’ll officially be the old guy at home who gets a tie and shirt on Father’s day at brunch before the girls ask to take the car keys so they can go get together with friends, while mom reminds them that Father’s day is only one day a year and guilts them into hanging out with me a little while longer.
OK maybe I’m being too harsh. The girls and I eventually left the fair after they said goodbye to their friends, and it was this guy who got to take the girls home for the night. It’ll be that way for a little while longer anyway. Maybe the Scrambler can still be OUR thing even if the girls take their friends along for the ride. Maybe there’s a few more fun fairs for this dad and his girls. Maybe I can try on being a tween for a while and see how it feels. I don’t really have any other choice.
Find me on Facebook at Dadmissionsthebook