Show and Tell

A few weeks ago on Father’s Day, my husband, daughter, and I went out to Sabrina’s for breakfast. While we were waiting for our food, Josh and Virginia flipped over the kids menu, drew a line down the center of the page, and started a drawing contest with him working on one side, and she the other. I took a quick photo of the two hunched over the menu with my iPhone and posted the happy Father’s Day picture onto Facebook with the caption, “Drawing contest while waiting for breakfast. Happy Father’s Day, Josh!” Sweet, right? I thought, Isn’t this what Facebook is for? It’s the home of the subtle (or not-so-subtle) brag. See, look at my happy family, celebrating Father’s Day with a drawing contest and a much-too-big breakfast. And sure enough, almost 40 friends and family “Liked” the photo. My mom wished him a “Happy Father’s Day, Josh.” And when a high school buddy asked, “Who won?” I responded smugly, “VA handily won the drawing contest. Josh won the Awesome Dad award.” Yes, very pleased with myself here and our successful Father’s Day Facebook post!

So I was surprised when a few nights ago, while Josh and I were watching cooking shows on the couch after our daughter had gone to bed, he turned to me and said, “You know that ‘Awesome Dad’ comment from Facebook a couple weeks ago? It didn’t sound like you.” I paused, blinking at him, and set down my iPad. “What do you mean?” I asked him. “I mean, you don’t say stuff like that on Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, it was a nice comment. But that wasn’t you.”

I shrugged and laughed it off, but when I thought about it the next day, I realized he was right. He caught me. I don’t say stuff like that. And it’s not that I think he shouldn’t win the Awesome Dad award, I just wouldn’t necessarily broadcast it. We laugh at the “Awesome Dad awards” Facebook posts and #bestdadever hashtags. I’d rather take him out for breakfast instead. Or on a hike in the Wissahickon. I might give his hand a hard squeeze and flash him a teary smile as we watch Virginia receive her 4th grade, move-up day certificate. But I wouldn’t articulate to him that he wins the Awesome Dad award on social media. Not in so many words. That’s not my style, and he knows it. I think the comment wasn’t really meant for him. It was meant for a larger audience, a lot of people I don’t even know all that well, which kind of makes me cringe. It was preening and showing off instead of pure sentiment for the intended person.

OK, lesson learned. And you know what? I won’t be wishing him a happy anniversary on Facebook either.

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