I’m an OK Dad. I mean, I am by no means perfect but my kids seem to like me well enough. We have fun together. We have good conversations. We like to play games. They don’t automatically cry when I look at them … anymore (story for another time). Father’s Day is typically a day that I am the recipient of their intense desires to demonstrate love and appreciation for me. I think we’re good.
Wife seems to appreciate my Dad-ing qualities. We are a team. We typically complement each other well in the parenting department. Sure everyone has their off days but more often than not our partnership keeps the family ship afloat without taking on too much water. I love her, she loves me. I like her, she likes me. We’re good!
So why did Wife poison me on Father’s Day?
Sunday June 19, 2022
The day is off to a great start. I sleep in, eat breakfast, drink coffee, and hang out with the kids. We are away from home, visiting family, staying at their house. Later in the day, more family is coming over to celebrate the holiday. In support of the day’s festivities, Wife and I are going to pick up the Grandma’s from their houses while we are out running a few errands.
We have a nice time out together. The kids stay back at the house while Wife and I drive to a few different stores. We mosey into a book store and a few dress shops. Next weekend we are attending a wedding and Wife hasn’t quite found the right dress yet. We browse the racks, she asks what I think about this dress and that dress. I tell her she looks beautiful in any dress. We walk sidewalks and hold hands. We chit chat and life is good.
Eventually it is time for us to go pick up the Grandmas. We drive to the other side of town and make the two separate stops soon chauffeuring back to the party.
It is about this time that I start to feel off. Not really sick or anything. Just fuzzy headed. While Wife is conversing with the Grandmas I focus on the road and am largely silent the whole way back to the party.
As we pull into the driveway I have already made up my mind that I need to go lie down for a few minutes. It is actually a pretty common ritual of mine. If I’m feeling overly tired after getting home from work, I’ll collapse on the bed without even changing out of my uniform for a 15 minute power nap that is completely refreshing and helps me be that “good Dad” throughout the evening. I lay on the bed, set an alarm for 20 minutes and pass out almost instantly. Not long after the alarm goes off Wife comes into the room to say she’s going to the grocery. I’m groggy and not feeling recharged after the short nap. So I tell her I’m going to stay and try to nap a little more.
Two hours later I wake as the kids tell me that dinner is about ready. Where did the afternoon go?
I feel quite rejuvenated and head downstairs to the obligatory “good morning sleepy head” and “enjoying your Father’s Day?”.
The food is delicious. The weather is pleasant. The company and conversation are great. And my fuzzy head, which I can only assume was brought on by the seasonably warm weather, is left in dreamland.
Wife and I have now been married for 12 years. We enjoy spending time together. And in spending time together you learn unspoken communication. Sometimes the communication is intentional. Sometimes it is not.
Not long after dinner and presents, Wife comes out to the deck where I still have our children crawling over me, pointing out the intricacies of their homemade cards. She’s communicating with me. Her face has guilt on it. I reply to her unspoken communication with my own, raising my eyebrows, standard verbiage for, “what’s up?”
“I have a confession to make,” she starts.
“Ok,” I reply as the kids’ attention is immediately drawn to the situation.
“I might have given you decaf this morning…”
The day’s events replay in my mind and the pieces slide seamlessly together.
You see, I have a bit of a coffee addiction. It is actually quite odd. I do not drink a lot of coffee. I limit it. Two cups a day. If I’m at home it is two mugs. And if I am at work it is one thermos. Intentionally I do not drink coffee in the afternoon and stick to refilling my thermos from the water fountain. But as has been my routine for the last 15 years, I must have my morning coffee.
If we are traveling and the hotel doesn’t have coffee, we’re stopping at a gas station. If I leave the house for work and forget to bring my thermos, you bet my top priority is finding a cup of joe as soon as possible.
When I miss my morning coffee I get a headache. I feel sluggish. And believe it or not I might be irritable. Sounds like withdrawal to me. And this dependency on coffee is honestly kind of an awkward topic of conversation with the kids.
“Dad, why do you always drink coffee?”
“Well you see daughters. Coffee has caffeine in it. And caffeine is a drug. And I am addicted to it. And if I don’t get my morning hit my body thinks it is shutting down. I’m what you call… a druggie.”
But there it was, hanging out in the open as the sun began to set on a beautiful Sunday evening, a confession of guilt from my darling Wife.
“You poisoned me on Father’s Day?!?!?” I exclaimed.
The kids got a good chuckle out of Mom poisoning Dad on Father’s Day. In fact, Lollipop 2 made sure to ask every morning for the next week if the coffee in my mug was decaf or not. She’s looking out for me. I am glad to have her on my team.
But I think we will be ok. With the kids’ Summer break still going strong, if a cup of decaf means that her husband, the Father of her children, is incapacitated and away from the kids for an entire afternoon, I can guarantee she is checking the label twice.