I went with them yesterday, ‘them’ being the three females in my life. Two of them, my daughters, needed swimsuits because, well, its summer. The third of ‘them’, also known as their mother, had warned me: you know they want buhkeeknees, right? I said I had heard that word several times of late but had always tried to change the subject. For example –
Daughter: Dad, I really really want a buhkeeknee.
Me: Sweet-girl, have you finished reading Rob Bell’s book yet?
Anyway, I went along yesterday, I felt it needed to be a father’s day on some level. So I stood in a store called Justice and leaned against a waiting-wall while three video screens assaulted my senses with some little tweener-boy trying to sing ‘Broken Hallelujah.’ I kid you not. As the poor kid butchered a classic I eyed my girls’ feet below the 3/4 dressing room door, feet I know well, toes I’ve counted, this little piggy and stuff like that. Their not-so-little-anymore feet skittered around accompanied by growing-girl giggles…broken hallelujahs to my heart.
I don’t know about a hell, but I do believe in God because somehow my daughters’ eyes were earlier drawn to that known as the tankeeknee. Now I’ve nothing against buhkeeknees, I’m rather fond of them in fact. But when you’re a dad that fondness is tempered by that fact that you’re a male and you know how fond males of any age are of girls sitting on chaise loungers in their bra and panties. I needed something for these middle-dad days I’m in and that meant something to cover their-middle…voila, enter the tankeeknee.
I stood up straight as I saw the dressing room door open. Two visions stepped forward to get my approval: whaddaya think, dad? If they only knew what I thought…if they only knew my thrill at seeing their ear-wide grins, a thrill coupled with an extreme difficulty to breathe, sorta like my saddle shifting right underneath me. If they only knew how excited I am for the summer days they have ahead of them, while I so long for those seasoned days when they let me wash their hair. What do I think? Well, I like ’em. Let’s get ’em. And so we did.
Yesterday was a day that built me, my daughters’ father, just a little more. I may make it after all. The gentle irony was our experience took place in a store called Justice. Any man worth his salt knows fathers are built by one thing and one thing only – mercy.