My dear Frankie Foo,
It’s your dad. I’m writing from a time, 2014, when believe it or not, I do not embarrass you. Seriously, you can’t get enough of me. When I come home from work, the moment the front door creaks open, I hear you and your brother with a cautious “…Daddy?”, and when I confirm that it is indeed me, an immediate “DADDY!!!!!” followed by the sound of a thousand horses stampeding across hardwood floors. (How do the two of you make so much noise? Do you each have nine cloven, hooved legs that immediately retract from human view when rounding corners into rooms?). Every time I see you, something very specific happens — my heart explodes. Every time. Without fail. And when you see me, you light up. Literally I think there must be fireworks behind those eyes of yours because I’m blinded by it and everything else disappears and you run over and wrap yourself around me so tight and I’m home. Did that just embarrass you? Sorry.
Here’s the thing though: I don’t think I’ll ever be able to keep my cool around you. I’m simply far too happy to know you. You choreograph dance routines for you and I. You belt out Let It Go for an audience of one: me. So, I’ve decided to just lean into it and be a generally embarrassing presence in your life. That’s right, I’ll never try to be the “cool dad” — I think we both know how much that would exacerbate whatever embarrassment was there in the first place.
So we’ll see how it goes. And when that day comes when those fireworks in your eyes fade and you cringe rather than squeal when I walk into a room, rest assured — I get it. I’ll even try to play it cool right along with you. But just know that my heart is exploding, over and over again.
P.S. Please never say “cool beans.”