Friday, April 3, 2009

Dad's Are So Much More Than A Paycheck

Welcome to another addition of Fatherhood Friday a weekly project Sponsored by the fun folks over at dad-blogs. If you haven't joined dad-blogs, get on the ball. It's fun over there. Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

Growing up in the home that I did, my Dad was always out the door to work in the morning well before the rest of the house was awake. We never saw him on school mornings. He was not a part of the morning routine. We usually made ourselves some cereal or toast and got ourselves out to school with a little supervision from mom. I was in elementary school in a time when we walked ourselves to school and everyone went home for lunch. Mom let us fix for ourselves what we wished to eat in the limited time we had to eat lunch and get back to school (12:30-1:20).

This was the very late 70's or the very early early 80's. Most of you will remember that these were some very tough economic times. The economy was in the tank, unemployment was high and American hostages were being held in Iran. I guess that pinpoints this story to fall of 1979- spring of 1980.

My Dad, like so many others, was laid off right before Thanksgiving. Ours was a house with 5 kids and a SAHM, just like almost every house on the block. This had to be a very scary time for my parents and especially Dad, who had the responsibility of being the bread winner.

However, we kids never saw the stress and the worry. We were too young or too naive, but most of all I think it's that Dad worked hard to keep us protected from how bad things were.

Every morning Dad would wake us up for school and tell us to get dressed while he went to the kitchen and made us breakfast. Oatmeal. With butter, white sugar, raisins and milk. Every morning. Every morning. Every morning. Do you remember the movie Groundhog Day?

When it was time for lunch, we walked in the door to sandwiches waiting on the table. Peanut butter and jelly or bologna. Any of the regular folks around here may remember that I am a picky eater. I'll eat a peanut butter sandwich on white bread, but you have to hold the jelly. I'll only eat bologna if it's 1 extra thin slice between 2 pieces of white toast. Dad didn't know these slight intricacies of my diet. He had never been around at lunch time. I didn't have the heart or the courage to tell him, so I would just sit and stare at my plate and Dad would get frustrated that I wouldn't eat.

We kids were used to our independence in these areas and we liked our routine. Dad was throwing a monkey wrench into the way we were accustomed to going about our day. We were cringing at being served and waited on, when we should have been appreciating it.

Eventually, Dad pulled out of me the issues that I had with the lunch menu and would then make sure my sandwich was made to specs. The oatmeal continued because he knew we liked it (although who could like it every single day?) and it was the cheapest way to feed us all a hot breakfast.

Sometime in the spring, right around Easter, Dad found a new job. Once again we would not see Dad in the mornings or at lunch. Like it used to be, we would not see him until he came home in time for dinner. Once again, I was too young and to naive to appreciate the significance of what this meant for our family. I was just happy to have that bit of independence back in my life. I was surprised to realize that I missed him and those meals, once he returned to the work force. Looking back that time holds some of my best childhood memories.

Mr. Weasel has been laid-off since early November. We have 5 kids to provide for. This has been a very stressful and worrisome five months. And it's a stress that we have striven to protect the Weasels from. Mr Weasel has been a big part of daily life around here. He has been making school lunches and steaming bowls of oatmeal. Eyes have been rolled. It took him a while to understand and remember the intricacies of our pickiest (Monkey Weasel) eaters diet.

He's made the most of this time off to chaperon school field trips and attend school parties. These are things that he never had the opportunity to do before. He's taken part in driving the kids to school and playing RockBand with them.

We are happily anticipating Mr. Weasel going back to work very soon. After all, it's almost Easter and everything else seems so parallel to my childhood. Not to mention there is very good prospect in the wings.

I know that I will miss him being around during the day when it does happen. And I think that will be true for all of the Weasels too. Even if they don't know it yet. Because dads are so much more than a paycheck.

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Melisa Wells said...

Great post! Keeping my fingers crossed for Mr. Weasel!

But...WHITE sugar on your oatmeal? Eeew! It's supposed to be BROWN sugar! :)

E.Payne said...

Nice post. Happy Fatherhood Friday to you. I wish you and the family the best.

Tom said...

Makes me wistful for the days when I was sole morning caretaker to my two daughters, nine years ago. I hope they'll look back on those days as holding fond memories for them, as much as it does for me.

KWG said...

They absolutely are more than a paycheck. I hope that prospect works out for him and your family really soon.

One time in high school my mom was traveling for work, and my dad, a police detective, was going to fix me something to eat. He said he was heating up chili, but when I took my first bite, it was spaghetti sauce.

A mind bender that was.

Andrew's Daddies said...

Nice post WM. I hope the best for your family. Hope WD finds exactly what he's looking for.

Daddy Files said...

I hear you on the whole one parent being out of work fiasco. My wife made all the money and she's been out for two months now. We've used up our savings and we're well through her 401k and unemployment still hasn't kicked in. It's scary, but I really feel as long as we all remember what's important we can get through anything.

Thanks for the post, it was nice to read on this rainy day.

Jason said...

Best of luck to the Mr. Weasel on his job prospect!

I remember growing up and hearing about layoffs and stuff but not really knowing what was going on. Even now my mom will still mention how there were some sparse Christmases, but I couldn't pick them out if you asked me...

Mocha Dad said...

Dads are much more than a paycheck. I alluded to this fact on my last Wednesday Wisdom post on my blog. Children crave their father's time. We sometimes get so caught up with work to remember that. I hope your husband finds work soon.

PJ Mullen said...

My dad traveled a lot for his job when I was growing up and I didn't get a lot of time to connect with him. I do remember one time he was home and my mom had to go be with her sick father. We got him to go grocery shopping and tricked him into buying all the stuff that mom never in a million years would buy for us. When she got home she gave him hell for a week. Good times.

MileHighDad said...

My Dad was my hero no matter what! I want to be that hero to my son no matter what!

BellaDaddy said...

ABSOLUTELY wishing the best, your family deserves it!

And the post, makes me remember those days all too well...and I grew up in the 70's!

ciara said...

my dad was in the navy so i don't have memories of him being there at all in my early childhood. it was always my mom who kept the family together even when my dad was being a jerk. as a young kid, you don't know that your dad is being a jerk to your mom. it would not be until we were old enough to understand things that we would see him home more. sometimes my dad can get on my nerves, but like i have said, he was there when i really needed him to be. you are right, they are more than a paycheck. this time that mr. weasel is spending w them will be the times that your kids will remember most.

i never got to see layoffs as i was living in the military life.

anyways, *crossing fingers, toes, legs, eyes and anything else i can cross that everything sorts itself out for you all soon*

great post, wm

Mama Smurf said...

Groundhogs Day is one of my all time favorite the movie and the message behind it.

Keeping my fingers crossed for Mr Weasel.

Love this post!

WeaselMomma said...

@ Melisa ~ Yup, white sugar. It's what we had. Till this day I prefer it with my oatmeal.

@ E. Payne ~ Thank you and Thanks for stopping by. Happy FF!

@ Tom ~ I'm certain that they do and the memories will only grow sweeter as they grow older.

@ KWG ~ That gives me fodder for next week. Dad had some recipes that we loved when mom wasn't home. Mom couldn't bear the the thought of them.

@ Andrews Daddies ~ Thank you, I'm sure he will.

@ Daddy Files ~ I wish you the best of luck, and it is wonderful to see that you have the right prospective.

@ Jason ~ Thank you and it sounds like your parents did a great job.

@ Mocha Dad ~ Thank you. My Dad definitely held a very special place in my heart and in my life.

@ PJ ~ Sounds like your gang was a handful, lol.

@ Mile High ~ Sounds like you are off to a good start and had a great example.

@ Bellas Daddy ~ Thank you and I hope you enjoy the walk down memory lane.

@ Ciara ~ I'm glad that your Dad came through when it was important.

lauren said...

WM -

Great post. So reminded me of my dad when I was younger. He too rose before us and got home barely in time for dinner. I still remember the day we came home from school to find him sitting in the dining room. We were quite confused.

Dads ARE much more than a paycheck. Thank you for sharing this and I hope Weasel Dad finds a job very soon!

Otter Thomas said...

Good luck with the job prospect. I enjoy the stories about your dad.

ShankRabbit said...

Good luck on the new prospect!

It's so tough finding that balance. It takes a mature kid to see that daddy is gone a lot BECAUSE he loves you. He's just showing his love by making sure you have what you need.

I'm sure like it did with your father, it tears me up every morning that I have to walk out of that house for 10-12 hours a day and be away from my little girl.

shane said...

I haven't thought about that era in a long time- I have very similar memories right down to dad's business going belly up and everyone tightening their belts. Thanks it's good to keep things in perspective.

terri said...

This brings back such memories. My dad was laid off around that same time and while he didn't serve breakfast or lunch, our dinners proved that he was quite a talented cook. I sure missed that when he went back to work.

I hope Mr. Weasel will be back at it again soon!

Rob said...

I am never around in the morning for my kids school routine either since I work at 4am unless I have a vacation day. But I think when I am home I mess up the kids and my wife's routine. LOL. Happy FF. Have a good weekend. Check me out at:

Isabella said...

Here, here! Great post!

Wishing Mr. Weasel lots of luck on the prospect.

Anonymous said...

first off, melisa is sooo right! brown sugar & maple syrup with maybe a dash of white sugar. yeah i know have a little oatmeal with your sugar, but dang it's good!

great post and it's eerie how your life is paralleling your childhood!

seashore subjects said...

It will be hard to lose the help, but what a relief it will be in so many other ways. Keeping my fingers crossed for you!

Momo Fali said...

We've been struggling financally for some time now, and my husband now has a job where he is earning a decent living. But, not we never see him anymore. He's putting in an insane amount of hours because he knows what it's like when there's no paycheck. It's a shame there can't be a bit of middle ground.

21stcenturyman said...

Great post WM!!! I am a freelance filmmaker and have been out of work a lot in the past 6 months. The lack of work has afforded me time to participate much more in my kids lives and I am very grateful for this time. Soon, I will be back to work on a project that will take me out of state and away from my kids. Knowing that I have been able to be there with them the past 6 months will help me through this time. Good luck to you and your family and I hope work comes soon for WD!

Bad Momma said...

Great post! Hope Mr. Weasel is trying to enjoy his (hopefully brief) time at home. Good luck on the new job!

-Justin said...

A co-worker and I have discovered a favorite word: balance. Every day, when one of us is getting stressed or upset at work, we look at each other and say, 'Balance.' We then swap quick stories about what our little ones have been up to lately, and then we feel better.
Right now, that's what I'm striving for. Unfortunately, I haven't struck it rich lately, so I still have to go out and earn that paycheck. But I strive to find a balance in the midst of it all.
Thanks for sharing your family with all us nuts! ;)

Anonymous said...

Moms are also more than a paycheck. We have been having this conversation all week as my wife was laid off on Monday. Thanks for the great post.

Michelle said...

Not shockingly, I'm with Melisa. Brown sugar on that oatmeal!

That was a wonderful post, and I hope Mr. Weasel was able to read it. It's so true, but it's something that so many people so quickly forget.

Finger's crossed for a new job soon! In Chicago, of course.

NukeDad said...

Good for Mr. Weasel! He's gonna miss that RockBand; I'm tellin' ya!

Mrs4444 said...

What a fantastic post; I love the way it came around, full circle. Loved it.

Charlie on the PA Turnpike said...

I'm late to this party, but that doesn't take away from a great post. Here's to Mr. W, and to his soon-to-be-new position.

The Microblogologist said...

I loved when my dad was self-employed, he was always around whenever I needed or wanted him. It was nice to have the extra money when he went back to working outside the home but in a way I'm not sure if it were worth not having him around as much (to me).

Daddy tried to shield us during the rough times but Mom definitely did not and from what Dad says she exaggerated how close we always seemed to be for not being able to pay the mortgage and such. To this day I usually feel guilty when people buy me stuff because she tended to guilt trip whenever I asked for anything, want or need. Learned the value of a dollar at least, lol. Hope he gets the job right after Easter so you can celebrate with your favorite beverage ;)

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