To further reassure my worried self about my deteriorating fatherhood skills, I have created a new file in my brain called “Reasons Why I am A Good Father.” I fill it up with memories, images, and conversations. These will become evidence of my competent fatherhood skills, as if I am preparing for the day when the Dr. Dobson police will break into my house and interrogate me.
Compiling the Dad brain-file, I recalled an event that, upon reflection, stood out above all the others as the pinnacle of sacrificial love of a father for his daughter. “How could I have missed this?” I thought to myself. Yes, I reasoned with newfound confidence, this is the stuff that myths, legends, and Dreamworks movies are born from, and it’s been going on in my household all the while! This surely sets me apart from the rest, and signifies that I have passed the ultimate test of fatherhood – at least for those of us with daughters.
It is called the “Period Purchase” test.
This is the one where the dad has to be willing to run out to the store upon emergency request and purchase his daughters’ maxi-pads, tampons, and other feminine gadgetry without complaint. The reason I know I’m a good Dad is that last year I went to the grocery store with my twelve-year old daughter for the sole purpose of helping her pick out the right pads.
I don’t remember where my wife was at the time, or why I was chosen for that moment. But there we are at Safeway at 7 on a Tuesday evening, staring at a huge wall of feminine hygiene products which offered a cheerful array of colorful selections. It's overwhelming. We slowly began to make sense of the vastness, narrowing down by category, attempting to decipher the correct choice. She reaches for a box.
“No honey, not those – they’re not the right colored box. Remember? It’s blue and green?” She puts the box back and reconsiders the wall.
“These, dad?” I examine the packaging closely.
“Oh, no, not those... those are overnights. You don’t need all that padding. Hey – look at these. Here it is.” We hold up the package and study the color, the cartoon depictions of its contents, and the secret-code product description.
“All right, honey, I think we’ve got the right one here. Okay?”