No, this won’t be some swollen tome on the gravity of parenthood. It won’t be some heavy words, wrung from worried hands, on the seriousness of fatherly duty. That stuff is all fine, a walk in the park, the kids are gonna be fine.
The weight I want to speak of is the ounces and pounds, the grams and kilos that come from inactivity. The lard of the homebound dad. The man tied down by dinner-time, bath-time, bedtime. Cemented to the couch waiting for this or that naptime to end. Foregoing his youthful splendour when he ran free, limbs outstretched. Foregoing the days of the hunter to become a herder. The minder of the flock who sits and watches. The TV, the microwave, the fridge, the fly trapped in the lace curtain.
Around the world men die from fatherhood. Waiting for the kids to grow up. Looking at the clock. Flicking through the channels. Mmm, what is in the kitchen? Ooh look, chocolate. Oooh, beer. Nice beer. Ooh look, bread, salami, bacon, chops, marshmallow, carrot … no carrot … chips, mash, gravy. Dead.
Don’t be mistaken, they all love their kids, that’s why they do it to themselves. They make the supreme sacrifice, give themselves up to the couch so their children will rest safe, play safe, eat safe. Because men are like that. Givers. Carers. Heroes really.
Your dad did it for you. And his dad for him. Some men do it over and over again. Sitting guard on the couch, keeping a watchful eye on the telly, a perked ear listening for the sound of a cry. Only ungluing himself from his IKEA prison to go earn the bacon for the bacon and the baby rice. Bearing his cross around the gut, lumbering off to work, all in the name of love.
Happy Father’s Day (fellow Australians).
(I know it was Sunday, but I was otherwise detained.)