Summer is over... Fall is here... I can't pretend anymore. School is in. It's Soccer season, and I actually had to wear a jakct to work this morning.
Fall is a time of new beginnings... things start to change in our house, and probably in yours as well. There are new classes at school, new clothes (or uniforms) for the kids, and the start of the children's "activities". For us it's soccer, and Girl Scouts... and a new thing this school year: Band. My youngest is now playing clarinet (or at least, learning to play), which brings me to today's topic for Fatherhood Friday.
This post presented itself to me on a platter, at 9 A.M. on Wednesday of this week. I was working the control booth at the range, and we were between courses of fire, when I got a telephone call from Mrs GF. My wife proceeded to tell me the story of my darling soccergirl having admitted that she had lost her clarinet. The clarinet that she had only had two lessons with. The clarinet that she had been so excited to get so that she could join the elementary school band... that clarinet.
Our story, it appears, began on Tuesday afternoon, when SoccerGirl discovered that she left said clarinet on the school bus. An hour or so later, when I asked SoccerGirl about her band class that day, she told me band class was scheduled for Wednesday... not being certain (and being fairly forgetful) I let it go.
Om Wednesday morning, there could be no more hiding the fact that the clarinet was missing, Soccer Girl came clean to mommy, who gave her an earful and then reported the missing instrument to the school secretary, in hopes that the item would be turned in by some helpful soul.
To make a long story only slightly less long, by 10:30 Wednesday morning, it was all over. One of SG's classmates, who also rides the same bus, realized the she left the clarinet on the bus, and took it home, bringing it to her when he arrived at school. Hurrah for the honest kid, right? Right.
Well, not-so-hurrah for the kid who lied to her father about band class to hide the fact that her clarinet had gone missing. Not-so-hurrah for the kid who hid this from both of her parents and had a hard time sleeping the night before, because she was holding on to this problem (that really would have been easily resolved had we known).
So, Wednesday afternoon, when I picked up SG from her after-school program, I asked her if she was glad to have her clarinet back. She smiled and laughed, almost giddy with relief. That didn't last because I then asked her if she had band practice that day. She shook her head in the negative. I then asked her if she actually had band practice on Tuesday, and of course she nodded that she had. Knowing that I was on to her and that I wasn't happy, she started to tear up, but I told her not to cry, because I wasn't going to yell or anything like that. We had a conversation in the car about lying, and why it is wrong. I told her that there were consequences for not telling the truth, and that after we talked about it, her mother and I would decide on her punishment.
We rode home, mostly in silence, and after homework was done, and 20 minutes of clarinet practice was finished, It was time for Girl Scouts. After her meeting and dinner, when she was ready for bed, I asked her if she felt better with everything out in the open, and she agreed that she did. After the usual ritual, she was off to bed.
This is where things start to unravel. Mrs GF, with sensible logic that, truthfully, felt like a real kick to the bollocks, said the we shouldn't be too mad , because we had been the ones to teach her to lie. Of course, being the dim bulb that I am, I didn't understand what she meant until she gave this simple explanation: "We tell her not to say certain things to loony Grandma, right? She knows that she isn't telling the truth, and that it's for Grandma's own good, and to keep from setting her off. So she did this (lie) to keep herself out of trouble, and to keep me, AND you, from freaking out about the clarinet."
She was right.
She usually is.
I hated the fact that she was right... but I couldn't deny it. Now comes the self-examination that has to happen for the sake of truth-telling.
I thought I had all of this dad stuff down pat. I guess I have more to learn.
Autumn is a time of new beginnings... I guess I have to start over in a new place, too.