RaisingDad: Three’s A Crowd

I wish I hadn’t heard that



When kids ride in the backseat of a car with friends, they forget a parent is usually sitting behind the wheel listening to everything they say.

Years ago, I was driving my youngest daughter and her best friend to school when I overheard the friend say she had walked in on her parents in the middle of… um... well, you know. The thing that shocked her the most was that her father was wearing his CPAP mask.

 “Ew, gross!” my daughter exclaimed.

In the rearview mirror I could see her friend make a face.

"It was like watching Darth Vader attacking my mom,” she said.



My buddy Maloney recently asked if my father still offers me words of wisdom.

I had to think about it.

I came to the conclusion that any words of wisdom my father offers are usually in the form of hindsight.

In other words, if I were to bump my head on a low-hanging bar, my father would then tell me, "Watch out for that bar."

If I stepped barefoot on something sharp and painful, he'd caution, "I forgot to tell you, I put that there."

Over the holidays I complained my stomach was upset. He told me, "It’s because you eat like a pig."

For the record, I do not eat like a pig.

My father's not much of a talker, but one thing I've noticed as he's gotten older is he's more concerned over what his legacy is going to be, how he's going to be remembered.

"Remember when I..." he'll tell me.

"You were a good dad," I'll tell him back.

And he still is.


My brother and I were pretty rambunctious kids.

How rambunctious?

Well, in the Bible it says, "Spare the rod, spoil the child."

Let's just say the two of us gave our parents plenty of reasons not to spoil us.

Let me give you an example. When I was around 10, I saw a movie about time travel and decided to build a time machine of my own. This consisted of my getting an oven rack that for some reason was discarded in our backyard. I took it, then went into the kitchen to get a roll of Reynolds Wrap. I covered each metal rod with aluminum foil, including the frame. I found an extension cord, also discarded in the backyard, and cut off the female end, exposing the thin copper wires that were intertwined with each other. I twisted them onto one corner of the rack.

I placed my invention on the ground, plugged the extension cord in the outside electrical socket, and talked a friend's younger brother into becoming the first time-naut.

My theory was this: the electricity flowing through the rejiggered oven rack would create a time warp, and, when my friend jumped onto it, he would fall through the portal and find himself in another time-stream. How he would get back was not my concern.

Let's just say the experiment didn't go so well.

Cut to my parent's 50th wedding anniversary.

My brother and I celebrated the occasion by taking them out to a fancy dinner. Our father didn't want to go, but that's another story.

"Bring me something back," he initially told us.

He changed his mind after our beloved mother sent us to another room so she could talk to our father "in private."

At dinner, I asked what their secret was to a long, successful marriage.

"Well," my mother said, "I told your father that if he ever left me he’d have to take you and your brother with him."

Love is blind, but on Valentine’s Day some sexy lingerie wouldn’t hurt. theduchenebrothers@gmail.com; @JimDuchene