It's been coming up a lot lately with both of my kids.
"What do I say when people ask me about my dad."
"What do I say when people ask me where my dad is."
There are no easy answers. Human beings are a decidedly curious lot. Saying "My parents are divorced and I don't see my dad," will lead to questions about the divorce and one question will lead to another down a very uncomfortable winding staircase that leads to a very black basement.
No kid should have to dredge up this shit just because someone else is curious, whether innocently or not.
So of course, I'm trying to brainstorm some responses for them. That's why I'm a stellar parent...
1. My dad is currently being housed under the kind and affectionate auspices of St. Louis County/The State of Minnesota (we'll know which one on Friday morning).
2. Ever see Invasion of the Body Snatchers? I'm a pod person. I come from an alien seed and a well turned compost pile.
3. I'm in the witness protection program. I really can't discuss this.
4. I was the ninth Gosselin child. I was emancipated at the age of 4 and written out of the show when I complained about being paraded around like an animal at the zoo.
5. My father died ten years before I was born. Yes. He was a Time Lord. (Sorry, a little healthy fantasy there...)
Suggestions are welcome. It will be an evolving list for them for, oh perhaps, the rest of their lives?
Another proof of my stellar parenting abilities is the fact that I allowed my son to drop out of a "leadership camp" after one day. I'm not sure if this is the same people that run the Northland Foundation's Kid's Plus group, but he had a similar experience to my daughter when she went there.
She called it the Young Republican's Club.
Whatever their political bent is, my kids are far too cynical and out of the mainstream to put up with a guy in a headset, talking waaaay to loud, with piped in 80's music and a poorly put together visual presentation. There were many hours of "ice breakers" and a posse of Melba toast privileged white kids, all being guided by adults who continuously made stereotypical comments about teenagers ("Yeah, I know you all hate your parents..." was one of the comments that put my son over the edge).
The purpose of the week long camp is to create leadership and team building. I guess they were all big on the fact that before the week was over, the kids would go to the Salvation Army and volunteer. You know, like Jane Goodall...they would actually be able to observe poor people...in their natural habitat!
My son, on his own volition, decided to get a volunteering job at a local soup kitchen this summer. He wanted to learn culinary skills and build his resume. He's fifteen.
Yeah, and he recognizes spoiled white kids when he sees them.
All I can say in my defense was, I wanted him to take advantage of a hopefully good opportunity. That's what I'll be telling him when he has flashbacks to yesterday at the age of forty.
The funniest thing was when he and a friend were filling out an "ice breaker" game and the phrase they had to finish was "My mom/dad is..."
I guess the rest of the kids said things like "supportive" and "loving". My son's friend said "a lesbian" and my son was tempted to say "in prison".
There are some crowds that you should feel proud when you don't fit in.