On Being Dad

You inherit a fierce type of love when you become a parent, different fierce when you are a dad and there is not the organic love of having tethered your child by an umbilicus, nor having felt your body change while itself growing a body. Being a dad is being a different type of parent by default.

I pick up my oldest from school on Wednesdays–his Minimum Day–when at one o’clock the queue circling his school is doubled-up, parents double-parked in complete disregard of transit laws. Everyone is there, stubbornly braked and singly there for their kid it seems. I’m shy to break the law these days so I always circle the school, which is perched over downtown and the ocean. Mexico is to the left and the ballpark is in view, occasionally transmitting neon things on the big screen: all this coastal architecture of suspended cranes and high-rises, steel and outdated brick. I always remark the sky—have to—this almost-genetic imperative to see what the sky is offering the pavement on this day, whichever day.

And never mind the change in weather—though I prefer afternoons of high nimbus and when the sky is a Crayola-blue—I look forward to picking up my kid everyday. Especially on Wednesdays when he’s home early and I’m the one to gather him from class. I didn’t grow him, perse, I was not his avenue into this world, but he’s me in part; and more importantly he takes that piece of me and makes it better because he is that kid who’s remarkable, who could’ve invented the rainbow or something and wouldn’t be any less remarkable than he already is.

I see his blond head at the curb, which is the cue for my heart to do it’s jump-thing. It’s the jump-thing every time, because seeing him is recognition and love at once, and there’s that emotional spike, that adrenaline, when chemicals understand they must be employed like fireworks when I rest eyes on him, him my kid.

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