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2013-06-13 digital edition

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2013-06-13 / General Stories

Father’s Day Mistaken Identity

by Daris Howard

I love working in the nursery at the church I attend. The children, all between one and four years old, are always so much fun. They are filled with love and excitement about life. But I noticed that they are also quick to pick up on anything their teachers do or say. I hadn’t worked in the nursery with my wife for very long before we learned to call each other by something other than the terms of endearment we use for each other. We realized we had to change this the first time a little boy came to me and stuck out his foot in front of me, with the shoe laces flopping, and asked, “Honey, will you tie my shoe?”

But the last time I worked in the nursery, I not only had my wife with me, but I had my littlest daughter there also. Even though my wife understood why she might have to call me something different than she usually did, my little daughter could not, and still always called me “Daddy.”

Thus, no matter how much I tried to correct the situation, I soon found all of the children calling me “Daddy” just like she did. I didn’t really mind it, but one day I did find out the confusion this was causing my little group.

On the Saturday before Father’s Day, our church had their big Father’s Day breakfast. All of the children and their fathers were to meet at the church early in the morning for the big event. I always look forward to this because there is bacon, sausage, pancakes, and lots of things to go on the pancakes. There are hash browns fried golden and crisp. And there is lots of milk and juice to drink.

All the children proudly sit with their fathers, and it is a wonderful time to visit with other dads as well as to connect with our own children.

On this particular Saturday, I was enjoying the time with my own children as well as greeting all of my little nursery children. They were happy to see me there and tell me everything they were doing with their dads. I would help some of them get their plates of food, put syrup on their pancakes, and many other things, especially if one of their fathers had more than one child and was busy with the others.

It was at this time that McKay came and sat down beside my family. He was about two and a half years old, and was a happygo lucky little guy. In nursery he often brought me books he wanted me to read, and would climb on my lap as I read them. He was just my daughter’s age, and was one of her best friends, and therefore was one of the main ones to call me “Daddy”.

I helped him set his plate on the table, and lifted him into the big chair next to my little daughter. At his request, I went to the kitchen and brought him back a cup of milk. He was finally settled and just about ready to eat. All he lacked was the syrup on his pancake.

He turned to me and said, “Daddy, would you pour...”

At that instant he stopped. He looked across the hall, and I turned to see where he was gazing. I saw that his father had just walked in, along with his other brothers and sisters. I could see by the look on his face that his mind was churning. I couldn’t be “Daddy”, because he already had a daddy.

His little brow furrowed as he tried to reconcile the issue, but he seemed at a loss. He glanced back and forth between us, obviously confused, and not knowing what to do. His confusion increased as his father came closer and closer to our table.

As I watched this little person wrestling with the dilemma he found himself in, I wondered how he would eventually find a resolution. But then, as his father sat down, a smile spread across McKay’s face, and I knew he had found an answer to his problem.

He turned to me and said, “Momma, will you put syrup on my pancake?”

Daris Howard, award-winning, syndicated columnist, playwright, and author, can be contacted at daris@darishoward.com; or visit his website at http:// www.darishoward.com.

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