It was the kind of day from which postcards are born: blue skies, cool temps, big smiles, open minds, and kind hearts. We’d arrived at Pont du Gard in southern France with our eager 2 1/2-year-old daughter; eager to get out of her car seat, eager to run free, eager to discover what, exactly, was this aqueduct thingy mom and dad kept going on about. And what’s a ‘Roman’?
We walked across the famed bridge, stared up in awe at the clever handy work of those industrious Romans, and looked down again to see where the Bear had gone, oh there, right behind my left leg. Why are children always hiding behind adult legs — that’s the last place we’d look. Oh, that’s why. Now I get it.
We continued our walk along the river, picking up stones and rocks and tossing them into the eau. Then we saw steps to the heavens, and Bear was the first to sprint up with her chubby legs leading the way forward. She stopped to pose for pictures, photographs that, in her bright blue long sleeved shirt, would end up being some of the best I’d ever snap of her or of anything before or since, and then the paved portion of the trail disappeared and we continued on dirt and through bushes. We couldn’t stop, there was more of everything to explore. Higher we climbed. When we reached the pinnacle we looked down on the impressive aqueduct as friends and countrymen might have centuries earlier. She then proclaimed, from the tallest mountain, her need to go to the bathroom.
At times during the weeks and months after she’d ditched diapers and grew out of the need for Pull Ups, I’d still have one in the bag, a relic from what seemed like another time and place, and I’d have her put it on, drop her number deux, and laugh about her still being a tiny baby. She found this hilarious and, thankfully, it never caused a relapse in her potty training. But at Pont du Gard on this day there was no leftover Pamper or Huggie to be found, so we did what we had to do: the Bear dropped trou and dropped a deuce outdoors in France. When in Rome. Her unique leaving behind, um, pieces of herself in France tradition would continue five years later when her tooth went missing in Paris. And she was bequeathed anecdotes to regale her friends for the rest of her days.
Remind me to tell you about what the Mouse once gave back to Malibu.
Fatherhood is full of unscripted moments like these. To excel at being a dad we must be nimble enough every single day so as to star in our own bizarro reality TV show of a life, to make hyper quick decisions as best we can to zigzag through this or that or the other thing, and sometimes, we must allow, nay, encourage our little kids to poop on the side of a mountain overlooking a Roman treasure. Pass the fig leaves. That’s how we roll.
I never visited Europe as a child, but something tells me I may have left my mark on Bermuda’s pink sandy beaches. My dad dealt with his own share of unscripted moments, like, in the year in which I was born, buying a business he’d run for over 30 years. I’ll always be his good luck charm. For this and more, he deserves at least a card for Father’s Day, as a thank you for not only volunteering to watch his granddaughters so his son and his wife can often have some grown-up adventures but also for kicking some pink sand over my, um, droppings in Bermuda, and for anything and everything else unscripted he handled with aplomb when I was a wee lad.
To illustrate the unscripted nature of fatherhood, Cardstore made a brilliant, must-watch viral video. Watch the ‘Dad Casting’ spot below.
Hilarous, right? You can participate in the conversation too by tweeting your own unscripted dad anecdotes — or dadecdotes (I just made that up!) — with the hashtag #worldstoughestjob. Please tweet them @OWTK too, ’cause I’d love to read ‘em. Every hashtagged card, tweet and post about dads will be tallied up by the Cardstore Dadmiration Tracker (see below) and will show the world the variety and degree of finesse real dads possess.
Design and send a rad dad card RIGHT NOW to your special papa this Father’s Day, and honor his ability to work without a script, to parent without a plan, and to handle himself with humor, class, and grace no matter what life, or a teething infant, throws at him.
Disclosure: I partnered with Cardstore from American Greetings and Life of Dad, LLC for the #WorldsToughestJob Dad Casting Father’s Day promotion and was compensated for my involvement.