Dad: The Instruction Guide, Page 232

Year seven. Early weekend morning. Daughter still asleep.

Get yourself up before the sun rises. Behold the angel on her pillow still, her quiet eyelids and everything. Wonder what she is dreaming. Limbs everywhere. Thank the Mother Above, Lord Jesus, Trees and Marbles: you have a child. Go downstairs. There’s stuff to do.

I. Upon awakening, child will need:
1) warm house
2) happy Dad
3) pancakes
4) stories

II. Therefore, before she wakes up:
1) build fire
2a) happy: drink coffee
2b) Dad: that’s you. Do something in this quiet time (write, meditate, stretch and breathe) so that you really know your own name before you start the day with this young one.
3) make batter
3.i) 1 c. pancake mix (See Note 1, below)
¾ c. water
1 egg
1 tbsp. oil (See Note 2, below)
Mix all that in a bowl.
4) pile storybooks on the coffee table, blankets on the couch

III. Infrastructure (in advance):
1a) warm: stack firewood
1a.i) buy firewood
1b) house: pay rent
1b.i) get a job (See Page 1)
2) make coffee (night before, set timer)
3) go to grocery
3.i) mix, eggs, milk, oil, maple syrup, chocolate chips
4) go to library

IV. Gratitude (continuous)
1) thank you: trees
1.i) thank you: soil, rain, sun
2) thank you: coffee bean bushes
2.i) thank you: soil, rain, sun
3) thank you: wheat, chickens, cows, olive trees, maple trees, cacao plants
3.i) thank you: soil, rain, sun
4) thank you: writers, illustrators, publishers, librarians
4.i) thank you: soil, rain, sun (See Note 3, below)


1. Mix, yes. Because there is only so much time in the world, because you can be a brilliant loving parent without knowing the difference between baking soda and baking powder, without buying those things and putting them somewhere and remembering where they are and checking, one day, their expiration dates. No. Just buy the mix because being a good Dad means above all being honest, and the honest truth is, don’t deny it, the honest truth is that if you had to find and measure more than four ingredients (not including chocolate chips because the child herself will get those and distribute them evenly across the just-bubbling top surface of the pancake whose bottom surface is just-golden), the truth is, you would serve her cereal instead. Most of the time. (See also Appendix 17: On the Use of Money for Freeing the Attention for Other Things. Of particular note in relation to this topic is Section 5.4: On letting other people know how to make teriyaki chicken—sudden and hot with steamed rice right in the middle of the city, exactly now when it’s too late anyway to get home to cook.)

2. Use olive oil. You cannot be expected to keep multiple oils on hand for different purposes (See footnote 1, on Time, how much in the world). Use olive oil for everything. Use butter for everything else. Subnote: You have tested this. Risky, yes, but the pancakes did not taste like olives.

3. You have only just begun. Thank you farmers and roasters of coffee beans. Thank you milkers of cows, gatherers of eggs, sowers and reapers of grains. A thousand hundred thanks, every day, to the mother of your child, to the mother of your own self, and of the librarian, and the grocer. Prostrations on the hour to the Mother of Us All. Thank you from the bottom of the feet for Fathers, especially yours, for their wisdom, strength and Love. Thank you to those who design and build these contrivances for bringing fire into the house safely, yo! To those who cast the iron and those who lay the brick. Thank you miners. And oh my lord, thank you for newspaper and kindling—that is, truth be told, key to the whole morning. And thank you Air. Ashé. Daughter coming down the stairs.

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2 Responses to Dad: The Instruction Guide, Page 232

  1. Malama says:

    And thank you for writers and poets and paper makers and pencil fashioners, not to mention the many factory workers who assemble computers in sterile white rooms so that instantly we can be together virtually for breakfast in the warm kitchen full of love and stories and can you make mine gluten free?

  2. Bob says:

    Ah! Love it!

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