Ian has this…laugh. It’s forced and painful, like a diversionary chuckle following an awkward pause after an off-color joke. It’s a role he assumes when he thinks someone should be laughing.
The cats are chasing each other or he’s misplaced a book or I’ve dropped something. Those silly cats, my silly self, that silly Daddy. He gives his head a slight shake and lifts his hands. It’s a laugh that says, ‘Whaddaya gonna do?’
Ian turned five years old on Friday.
Yesterday, at the park, I asked him if he wanted to play at the playground or explore more of the park. ‘We can do whatever you want, Daddy.’
At breakfast, Kelly sighed and shook her head over too many pancakes. ‘Whew. I’m slowing down.’ Ian paused with his fork and replied, ‘Not I.’
He rubs my back when I have a headache and scratches it while we’re watching TV. He takes deep breaths and levels his voice when he’s angry, and tells me that I’m his favorite Daddy. ‘But, kiddo, I’m you’re only Daddy.’ But, he tells me, I’m not the only Daddy he knows, that Sam and Olivia and his other friends have Daddies.
And that, of all of them, I’m his favorite.