I woke up this morning and I was no longer Daddy. I am now Dad.
It seems like a small change, dropping the second syllable, but its one of those tiny increments in the life of a boy turning into a man. Zane is nine now, turning 10 this month, and calling me Dad is one of the ways he proves that he is not a little boy any more.
There are other little signs: he refuses to wear footed pajamas. He won't let me call him "Baby."
He starts the fifth grade this fall and he's at that age when the opinion of the other fifth graders is more important than either of the Daddies. I mean Dads. He rolls his eyes when I tell him how cute he is. When I turn on NPR on the car
radio he switches the channel to hip hop. The other kids have made a game helping me hunt Zane down so that he has to give me a hug goodbye on the schoolyard. And when he says, "Straight Dads don't make you hug goodbye," I roll my eyes back at him and say, "Well, the good ones do."
I should be mad but I'm too damn proud.
He's grown up enough to have a different opinion than me. He has the courage to tell me that watching "High School Musical" is lame. Some day he may even vote Republican and that's OK with me, sort of.
What's even more of a miracle is that some days he even agrees with me. We both cry when we watched E.T. And some days he challenges me to stop folding the laundry and start riding the bicycle. Or the roller coaster. Last week, he got me into the Boomerang, and as the ride got me 300 feet in the air I clutched at the railing and Zane rolled his eyes again.
You know what he taught me that day? No matter what your hopes, no matter what your fears, when the car is sliding downhill just throw your arms in the air and yell "Wheee!"
Even if I'm not the Daddy any more.
With a Perspective, this is Kevin Fisher-Paulson.
Kevin Fisher-Paulson is a captain with the San Francisco Sheriff's Department.