“We need to talk about Dad.”

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Unfortunately, my husband is one of the thousands of people who has lost a job due to the economic situation in Alberta. Thus, he is around a lot more than he normally would be. This has been great on so many fronts including the fact that he is now able to spend more time with our children. He is taking them to school, picking them up from school, taking them to dentist and doctor appointments and experimenting with the odd meal or two. I set the stage in this way so that you understand that which predicated the following conversation with my 14 year old son:

My son: “Mom – I need to talk with you privately.”

Me: “What’s up?” Now – of course that was not what I was thinking. I was thinking “Oh dear. What could this be about? A girl? Drugs? Alcohol? Gangs?”. It took a great deal of personal mastery to simply utter “What’s up?” in a calm fashion.

My son: “We need to talk about Dad.”

Me: I THOUGHT: “What did he say? He’s going to be a dad??” I SAID: “Pardon?”

My son: “We need to talk about Dad. Dad is around a lot these days and I know he’s trying to do all kinds of things he normally doesn’t do and that’s good; but he needs help. He needs help with this whole “Mom-Dad” thing- especially how to make lunches. You should have seen what he put in the lunches the other day.”

Me: “Oh….” At this point, I was trying very hard to keep a straight face. I was thinking “That’s awesome.” I said: “What do you think we should about that?”

My son: “I have no idea.”

And so it goes – this new reality of a “stay-at-home” Dad and a “back-to-work” Mom. We get it mostly right but sometimes really wrong and that’s ok. It’s in those wrong moments where we learn more about each other; in particular, our unwritten rules and family culture. This is priceless and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

So bring on the bad lunches, Mom-Dad. I can’t wait to see what you’ll cook up next.