"Here's the Father's Day craft F made today," she said, smiling and holding a colourful, hand-painted card out to me. "I can tell you since you're not his father!"
I felt my heart sink into my stomach as the daycare teacher's teenage daughter showed me the masterpiece F had spent his day working on. It was the week before Father's Day weekend, and I guess I should have seen it coming.
She gushed about how much F's dad would love it and how it wasn't the only piece of artwork the kids would be working on this week, completely oblivious to my (apparently well-hidden) pain. F's Dad hasn't been around for Father's Day in a while.
Both F and I are lucky to have other great men in our lives, like my Dad (Grampie) and Red, but my heart ached when the daycare teacher told me that F had announced that Grampie was his Daddy. Another kid's reply: Grampie can't be your daddy.
I recently saw a Facebook post by a friend exclaiming how crazy it is to not allow Mother's Day and Father's Day crafts in schools. She's entitled to that feeling as much as the next person is entitled to theirs, as much as I am to mine but I think it's a touchy subject for many people.
For the kids who have two Mommies or two Daddies, for the kids who don't have a Mommy or don't have a Daddy or are orphaned, and for the caregivers who have to deal with explaining that to their children.
It's not easy to explain to a kid, especially with society and popular media portraying the "perfect little family": Mommy, Daddy and Kid(s). Throw in a pet and a picket fence, and by George, it's the North American Dream ... except when it's, um, not.
I'm a Dother. Or perhaps a Fom. Mather? MomDad? A hybrid, to say the least.
Dad is a hat I've worn, right next to Nurse, Teacher, Friend, Horse, Punching Bag, Snot Wiping Station and Queen Snuggler. I didn't plan to, and maybe it doesn't suit me as well as I'd like it to but it's one of my hats now. Maybe one day I'll pass it on to someone else, but I'm not sure. For now, I'm just trying to hold my heart in one piece and help F understand what no three-year-old should have to try to figure out.