She doesn't want me to sit with her. In her words, I should sit "over there." This is kid speak for "As far away from me as possible." This is what I hear.
This is what I also hear: You suck. I have seen pigs that slop in their own filth that are cleaner than you are. Your stink brings tears to my eyes. I can't believe you ever got laid in the first place, are you sure you are my father?
Little Hoss points indicating that she wants me to sit on the other side of the gym, far far away from her. She wants me and her brother to eat our pancakes in the gym version of Siberia. She is Stalin, and I have been exiled.
I didn't even want to come to the school's pancake breakfast. My wife wasn't able to go, an early meeting with a client. I had to rock this as a single parent, but sometimes that's what you do when your daughter begs and pleads for you to go. She wants you there. You ask her if you can meet her friends. She says yes, gets excited. She offers to do her chores. She offers you "money" that she has found on the floor. If only Daddy would go.
Of course I went. I didn't think I was in the habit of disappointing my daughter, not until I got there at least and I was told that the pleasure of my company was not required.
It started off smooth. I got to the door with the family, looking very good if I do say so myself. No one can pull off 4 year old clothes quite like me. I'm wearing some of my "important" clothes as my daughter calls them. I am trying to blend in with the rest of the working parents. Look, I'm wearing a collared shirt, I am important and well put together. However, all of my "important" clothes are my old work clothes. Seeing as I haven't had a job in 4 years, except for raising my kids, my wardrobe is slightly out of style I think.
But no matter, I was there and I was showered. It was 7:30 in the morning and I have arrived with my kids to eat pancakes that will benefit the school in yet another fundraiser that I have no idea where the money is going. Sometimes I wish the school would just ask for 200 bucks up front at the beginning of the school year and quit trying to get me to buy stacking cups or shoelaces 25 times a month. I would pay it just for the lack of hassle.
Getting our pancakes was no trouble. We were in line and Little Hoss was pointing out her friends. Cindy, Julie, and that other kid that always gets in trouble. I say hi to there parents and introduce myself, flex a little bit so they can see the show, and move on down the line. Everyone gets their plate and their pancakes and we go to find a seat.
I was a bit distracted because I was afraid that Bubba Hoss would take his pancakes and wing them at someone's head. He likes to throw the food and I find myself constantly on the defensive when he has something shaped like a Frisbee. His accuracy is uncanny. We follow my daughter around the gym until she comes to a table.
She sits down and waves to a little boy that is sitting with his Dad, they look very peaceful and happy together. I go to sit with her when she says no. That's how she broke her fathers heart and when she reads this years later, as a young adult, I hope she comes and begs for my forgiveness for crushing the soul of an old man that just wanted to eat breakfast with his daughter.
She wants me no where near her and perhaps it's because of the little boy at the table. Maybe she "likes" him. She is about to turn 6, perhaps these things happen now. Maybe she "likes" boys and doesn't want dad to mess it up. And I would as soon as I got the hint that perhaps this boy "liked" my daughter back. I would crush his kindergarten spirit for trying to lead my daughter astray. I can't help it, it's what fathers do when they have daughters. I make no apologies.
As she indicates by her pointing finger, she wants me to sit absolutely no where near her. She wants me banished to the swamp land of principles and teachers. Not near the normal parents.
But I have dignity and I have class therefore I will not fall to my knees and cry. I will not make a scene. I will calmly turn my back and, with dignity, walk to just the next table over. I will not turn back, I will not turn back.
We sit and I turn back. Just to keep an eye on my daughter.
"Daddy." she says over the noise.
"Yes?" I say, a bit desperately.
"Will you cut my pancakes?"
That's right honey, little girls will always need Daddies.
Bubba Hoss throws a pancake at some kids head.