Patricia Grant: Shit, It’s Father’s Day (A Father’s Appeal to his Newborn Son)

Dear Son,

This morning as I stood wrapping your tiny, red rear in what the Internet assures me is the “Lamborghini of diaper,” having wiped it fresh and anointed it with ointment in the prescribed manner, I was visited by a memory, a veritable ghost of Father’s Day past. Until now, the day was never more to me than a mid-June occasion of back burner priority. It was often, on the arrival of that third Sunday, I would find myself already long into the day and uttering the words, Shit, it’s Father’s Day. At that late hour and because the supply of neckties, cufflinks and like menswear at the 7 Eleven is meager even in times of low demand, I would resort to honoring my father’s multitude of sacrifices by gifting him a package of Twinkies. I flush with embarrassment at this admission.

I appreciate the work of karma, but as it turns out, only when it is directed at someone other than myself. When I am on the receiving end of karma I will dart and swerve like a pursued grassland animal to avoid it. Son, I pen this missive to you as a plea that you consider the trial that is fatherhood, especially the early weeks, for these weeks have affected me in an irrevocable way. I no longer feel the need to deliver my beloved “titty twisters” to unwitting friends or “pants” them in large public gatherings. Who is this person I have become? I fear I may never regain the impish demeanor I have until now been known for.

I harbor no bitterness against you, son, but I feel that a trauma was done to me as a first responder to your poopy diapers. How harshly I was admonished for my recoil from these “natural” and “healthy” things! I say this now as a God-fearing man, there is nothing “natural” about excrement that defies the laws of physics. There is nothing “healthy” about a diaper change that calls for a HAZMAT suit and a stepladder. Unholy is the only word for such horrors.

Traumatic, too, were the unbroken weeks of sleeplessness. Night became day and day night! So complete was your disregard for the most basic of human needs – sleep – that, should you have carried out these practices in a time of war, in lands far beyond your Thomas The Tank Engine themed sovereignty, you would have been made to face military justice and declared a criminal. I have withstood these practices of yours, son, steadfast and without complaint as only a loving father can, but do not mistake my stoicism for invulnerability, for the scars are there, deep and everlasting.

Of course, I am a reasonable man and will grant you a pass this year seeing as you have hardly developed beyond a larval state, but for the future, son, I ask only that you consider the things I have seen and done for you, the sacrifices I have made and how heavily they weigh upon me. Remember my plea when mid-June nears. Remember me on Father’s Day and honor me appropriately!

But should this missive fall on deaf ears, should karma have her way with me in the end, I will accept your gift of Twinkies. I will eat them and cry and hope that someday you, too, will know the taste of this bitter fruit. (Truthfully, I enjoy a Twinkie, but you know what I mean.)

Your Loving Father,


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