On Tuesday evenings, my daughter has dance class. She takes a combination tap and jazz class and is a good dancer. She is now seven years old and her mother and I have had her in dance since she was nearly two. I’ve been a dance dad for a very long time. Even now, I’m getting a little misty-eyed thinking back to the days when I had to sit in on her class because the kids were afraid to be without their mothers and fathers; now, she’s a whole person with opinions and attitudes.
Parenthood is amazing.
Anyway, back to Tuesday. On Tuesdays when I take her to dance class, we go out to eat before class. I love this time. It’s a time for me to take her out on a date and for us to sit and talk about whatever is on her mind which can range from nothing to everything. Sometimes, I bring my son with me. This can be a task since he’s now one (!!!) and has the patience of a gnat. But it’s fun family time for us and my son and daughter adore one another.
As I’ve gotten further into this daddy with multiple kids thing, economic dinner options has become an expedition. Such brings us to Pizzeria Uno's who has free dinner for kids on Tuesdays. All day, b. Sign me up. It has become my go to dinner spot on Tuesday evenings.
Such was the case on this most recent Tuesday. It was a bit busier than normal. Here’s what I observed upon my entrance: six booths were taken up, two with a mother and two or three kids, one with a mother/father (man/woman) combo with two kids, and three booths with only adults. We were seated directly across from a table full of four people who looked like a couple of older, white grandparents.
Directly behind them was an older white couple and across from them was a younger couple who looked like they just got their tax returns and hit Uno’s up like a champ. The older couple is the one of import here.
Now look, I don’t care how much of a super parent you are, going anywhere with two kids, one of whom is a ball of energy in an under two-foot body is going to require a lot of attention. My son is a basket of kittens and smiles. He’s a happy kid. Both of my kids are. But he’s a baby and clingy. He was all over me the whole dinner. So while I’m trying to get my table settled – my daughter is self-sufficient as a mug so she doesn’t require nearly as much organization – I noticed that the woman was staring over at me. Now, I’m a G at this parent game so I was able to get us all settled and order and eating with minimal issue. My son refused to sit in the high chair but whatevs. But again, I noticed the woman looking at me during this ordeal. From that point on, I kept noticing her noticing me. At one point, she pointed in my direction and her companion (I have no idea if it was her husband) turned and looked over at me.
Every so often she would smile.
I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I definitely wondered if she was looking at me like, “aww, look at that poor father over there struggling to do the job that mommies do all day every day.” But I paid it no mind, I had my own people to concern myself with. Plus, again, there were other tables with little kids going through the same thing. It was just another Tuesday at Uno’s.
Let me just say this here: I realize that a man being a father, solo, is a thing of marvel, amusement, and wonder in the eyes of many people, especially women. A father out with his kids and doing a good job of not making them dead or being a fumbling ball of ineptitude gets looked upon more favorably than a mother doing so. We expect mothers to be good at dealing with kids, fathers not so much. I think this is ridiculous, but I also can’t say that I haven’t benefited from it in the form of compliments on occasion. I’ve had women walk up to me when I was with my daughter and tell me how beautiful it was to see a father so clearly in love with his daughter. I said thank you, but in my head I was thinking, “isn’t this just…normal? It’s my daughter!” Point is, women with kids, I see you.
Well, as time came for me to get my check and pay, and as my son flatly refused to eat his little puff, I noticed the woman walking towards my table. An old white woman running a smooth creep at me normally puts me on edge, but I caught her slick moves at the last minute. She walked up to me and handed me a $10 Uno’s gift card and says that she can’t use it but hopes I can put it to use. She then goes back to sit down and says, loudly, to my daughter, “Your daddy is so sweet!”
Now, she doesn’t know me from a can of paint and thus far our entire interaction has been her giving me a gift card to cover some of my bill (which I couldn’t use because kids eat free; it was $10 off a tab of $20 or more). I guess whatever she saw either made her think that I could use a break OR she’s just out here handing out gift cards like a Gift Card Fairy making life easier for those in need.
Here’s the thing, I’m not looking this gift horse in the mouth. I said thank you and I appreciated it. But she didn’t hand anybody else a gift card and there were tables with mothers with more kids nearby enough for her to glance at them and feel a way.
I wonder if I got white saviored. Was she my own personal Leigh Anne Tuohy? Sure she didn’t offer me my first bed, but did she see me and think I needed help and couldn’t live with herself if she didn’t help me out?
Was it because I’m Black? And if so, is she going to turn me into an offensive lineman? I’ll have to eat a lot more carbs.
I’ll never know the answer to any of those questions (except the offensive line one, I’m pretty sure that’s out of the question) but I’d be lying if my first thought wasn’t that she took pity on me because I’m a Black man with two little kids out by himself.
But let me tell you, that shit is the come up. Michael Oher got a bed and I got a $10 gift card that I will surely go back to Uno’s to use. So while I’m curious as to why this woman picked me to “help out”, I’m thankful that she did. A gift card is a gift card, b.
Thank you, white savior(?).