Dad Is Still In Charge

Sometimes the words flow freely and you know that whomever reads your posts is likely to understand, follow and appreciate the things you say.

And sometimes you are not sure because you can’t figure out if your muse quit, is out on disability or an extended vacation.

But you did your pen into the inkwell and scratch something on the page and remember that blogging is a funny business and you never know what will be of interest so you ought to just write.

Better to go down swinging than to watch the pitches sail across the plate or if you prefer, you miss every shot you don’t take.

Dad Is Still In Charge

Steiner the minor is in the middle of being a teenager and he seems to do an admirable job of making me feel proud, crazy and confused, sometimes all within the same 15 minute span.

I look at this boy who is quickly approaching my height, a voice that is deep enough to sometimes fool people into thinking they are talking to me and everything else that puberty brings.

We stand there in the middle of his room and he wants to know how I instantly spot every piece of trash and dirty clothing on the floor.

Wants to know how I can tell him “I pay the bills and he’ll follow my rules” when grandpa told him I used to go nuts when he said that to me.

“Dad is still in charge. You may be feeling your oats, may be thinking you are ready to take care of yourself but you’re not there yet. Sure, if you had to do it, you’d figure it out. You’d survive but I am helping you figure out how to do better than just survive.”

He glares at me and the conversation moves to the day his mother’s purse was stolen at Target. He wants to revisit it.

I indulge him because I am curious where he wants to take it. I remember it as a moment in time in which his innocence was stolen,

The little boy he used to be wanted to know why I didn’t kill the thief or at least beat him up. The teenager says he understands why I wouldn’t go that far but still wonders why I didn’t force the issue.

I look at him and ask him if this discussion would be more interesting if we pretended we were druids and celebrated the Summer Solstice but that earns a head shake and a look.


I take a deep breath and remind myself that he truly isn’t as difficult as I was, at least not yet.

Don’t mistake that for me asking for the challenge because even though I don’t back down from them there are many that I don’t need to take on.

Call it the beauty of age and maturity, I have a perfect record of surviving every bad day and I want to keep it that way.

Still, his not having managed to scale the heights of parenting madness haven’t made life that much easier because other things have taken their place.

Most of them are still classified as things that I successfully managed or am in the process of doing but there have been times where it all felt more taxing than necessary.

It is another time when I appreciate reading things like Don’t Worry About What You Can’t Control Part 2 because they help offer perspective.

Now is better than before and if I keep my head there is no doubt we’ll Charon will ferry us back across and if not, well I’ll be dad the superhero and kick his ass.

But in the interim, it is time to keep trying to guide and direct these beautiful wild beasts who call me dad.

Time for me to be Max, King of the Wild Things.

Flashes of Memory Intermixed With Future Images

I appreciate the questions and understand why they challenge me. I tell them they are entitled to challenge authority but explain they need to have good questions, purpose and intent.

And I caution them, remind them that good intentions can still go bad.

The days when I would walk in and they would drop everything to come hug daddy grow more distant and though I miss them, I know it is part of growing up.

Steiner the minor is particularly prickly about hugs, he doesn’t want them from anyone. Part of me is concerned because we have always been an affectionate family and it makes me wonder if everything is ok.

My dad assures me I went through a similar phase.


The dark haired beauty is pleased to be different from her brother. She intentionally forgets that for a long while she was his biggest fan and he her biggest hero.

They go through moments where they act like best friends and then they scream at each other. Sibling love.

For Father’s Day she made a card for me that explicitly detailed and listed her as forever my little girl.

Sat on my lap, hugged me and told me multiple times, “I love you daddy.”

Most of that was totally legit, it was only towards evening that she asked if she could go to the mall with her friend.


My little girl isn’t quite 12 and is over five feet tall. She is not the tallest in her class or of her friends but she is not the shortest either.

When she stands next to her brother I look at them and remember little people who ran us ragged.

Little people who would grow faster than I could believe or so their grandparents said.

And then as fast as I could see baby faces and chubby legs they morphed into big kids and I almost felt like I could see the people they’d grow to be.

Dad is still in charge, but only for a little while longer.

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  1. Eli@CoachDaddy June 23, 2016 at 9:33 am

    There’s gray in the mane, but I’m still king of the jungle, too. Well, ornamentally, anyway. The girls profess fear of mom, but not so much for dad.

  2. Janine Huldie June 22, 2016 at 10:54 am

    Not quite there yet with my kids who are still only 5 and 6 years old, but figure give us a few years and wee too will be at a similar stage, as well, because it is just inevitable still.

    • Jack Steiner June 23, 2016 at 8:28 am

      Sometimes I miss 5 and 6 because there is a certain innocence that disappears in the years that come. There are lots of good things about the ages that come afterwards, but those earlier years are pretty cool.

  3. Larry June 22, 2016 at 4:25 am

    Yup – some day they will be leading you.
    I feel like I am having more “grown up” conversations with my sons, particularly the older one.
    I see that version of sibling love here on a daily basis.

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