Last school year, Gary missed out on nearly every single one of the kids’ field trips or events because, well, letting him know about the kids’ events was just too damn peskily parental. This year, at least token gestures have been made to let him know about scattered events here and there, and he chaperoned one of Wolverine’s field trips recently.
After years of being fed lies about the children’s horrible, violent, cheating, and terrifying father, the entire town where the kids live now (all 50 humanoid in-bred townsfolk) have seemingly conserved their scarce brain cells for picking their remaining teeth and getting matching crooked hair chops instead of thinking for themselves. Almost every time Gary meets someone from that backward town for the first time, he is met with tight-lipped “I know who you are” self-righteousness, rudeness, and outright ignorance. I don’t know whether to laugh or to just shake my head when I see the lightbulb fighting to light up above their brainwashed heads as they speak with him and discover- A-HA!- that just maybe, not everything they have been spoon-fed is actually true.
Wolverine and Gary had a great time on the field trip, and Gary watched his first 3-D IMAX film. Gary was excited later that night, telling me about the film, Wolverine’s friends, how all the girls wanted to sit next to Wolverine (not that we picked on Wolverine about this later…nah!) Listening to Gary, I was touched how he couldn’t stop talking about it, how he enjoyed every moment with Wolverine, and how much the day meant to him.
I ws also struck by the education that Wolverine’s teachers must have received that day. I have seen Gary on the playground and on the beach with large crowds of kids, so I already know what inevitably happens: drawn by his loud laugh, his energy, kids end up circling him like he is a toy. It must have been more than a little astounding for Wolverine’s teachers to watch the man they’ve been warned all about become the center of the kids’ attention.
I can imagine their shock when, instead of showing up drunk, swinging his caveman club, offering the kids a swig from his paper-bag-wrapped bottle, dragging the females by the hair, he instead laughed, joked, and played, talking with the kids, enjoying his time with them. I hope it was a much-needed lesson for the other adults there to not believe the hot air that swells out of every vindictive, bovine windbag.
Listening to Gary talk about his day with Wolverine, I had to smile. He truly loves days like that, days he used to be able to share with the kids just because.
The kids and their dad shouldn’t have ended up like pen pals who rarely see each other. No one with the proverbial best interests of the kids would ever have supported this situation, or would have put so much energy into perpetuating it.
I’m glad he and Wolverine got to spend the day together, and I’m glad Wolverine’s teachers got to remove the blinders placed on their eyes by years of lies and got to see Gary the way the kids see him: caring, fun, active, involved, madly in love with his kids.
It’s hard to imagine anyone having a problem with that.