Thursday, June 2, 2016

June 2: Cool Dad, Janeen Rastall, "Skimming"

I find myself thinking about my daughter still.

As you could probably tell from my last post, she is feeling a little persecuted.  Right now, she is at school, playing in the band for the graduation ceremony.  I was planning on staying to watch, but, as we approached the school, she made it very clear to me that I did not have to stay.  In fact, she practically jumped out of the car as I was braking.

I used to be a cool dad.  Did things that most other dads don't do.  I teach college--cool.  I've published a book of poems--cool.  I taught her and her classmates poetry--cool.  I play keyboard in a band--cool.  Not to mention that fact that I used to direct and perform in plays and musicals--cool and very cool.

So, when did I graduate from cool to decidedly uncool, bordering on benevolent dictator (and sometimes not so benevolent)?  It is difficult for me to pinpoint an exact moment.  I know I haven't really changed much.  Still a poet.  Still play in a band.  Yet, I now have to drop her off approximately two miles away from the entrance to the high school.  (I used to think that was an exaggerated teenager cliche.  It's not.)

My daughter is trying to spread her wings.  I get that.  She has a boyfriend now, a nice kid who attended a reading with me at the university a couple months ago.  I'm fine with that.  She is taking driver's training this summer.  I'm a little less fine with that, but I'm adjusting to the idea.  She now has her own debit card so she can learn to manage her money.  I helped her open the account.

She is growing up.  I understand.

I just want to know when I'm going to be put on the cool shelf again, next to her dance trophies, first pair of pointe shoes, and pretty rocks she found on the shores of Lake Superior.

Because Saint Marty is cool.  Really.  He is.


by:  Janeen Rastall

When Superior tosses waterlogged rocks
to the shore,
we do not lift them
like shells to our ears,
listen for their deep-veined stories.
We palm the worn stones,
prod places where the waves have had their way.
We flip them hand to hand,
judge their weight
then toss them back to drown again.

I know cool . . .


  1. Hang in there daddy-o, your day will circle back around; you're just going to be older when it happens :-)

  2. "I just want to know when I'll be on the cool shelf again..." There's a cool shelf in a teenage girl's heart--a secret one not on display for evaluation by her frequently merciless peer-group. She's never taken you off that shelf, "can't let myself be seen with you, pops" episodes notwithstanding. You are cool. Stay cool, play it cool. It's a rough world out there. Deep down, she knows she's lucky to have her old man looking out for her. (Experience as a former teenage girl, and mother of former teenage girl. Three generations, and if my husband were the blogging type, he'd testify that things will get lots better.)