Hello my name is …. dad who can not resist!

Recently at church, one of the children’s classes spent weeks practicing the Matthew West song “Hello My Name Is.” (Give it a quick listen, just the first 20 seconds or so.) My daughter was in the group. They were to perform the song on stage during a special church dinner one Sunday night.

My daughter looked forward to it. She loves to sing, and isn’t shy about performing in front of large groups. For an 8-year-old, she’s immune to stage fright. But as I would find out, she is susceptible to embarrassment.

The big night came. My daughter was one of three kids with a solo. All eight were lined up on stage, behind mics. The audience was 120-plus strong, sitting at round tables on the gym floor. All eyes on the performers. The teacher hit play on the CD.

Showtime!

Whoa oh ah oh ah oh oh!
Whoa oh ah oh ah oh oh!
Whoa oh ah oh ah oh oh!

The music was loud. You could just hear the actual West vocals of the song. The young singers overpowered him.

“Hello my name is regret …,” the first soloist began. “I’m pretty sure we have met …. Every single day of your life … I’m the whisper inside …. That won’t let you forget.”

Then came the next soloist, who sang the second refrain. Then all joined in loudly for the chorus (Kids love a good chorus). I was sitting in the front row, camera recording. The third refrain was my sweetie’s big moment. Here it comes! 


She stepped closer to the mic. A split second of hesitation. Then she sang.

I am no longer defined …..
By all the wreckage behind …
The …
*pause*
one .. who …
*pause**pause*

She stopped. Her eyebrows shot together, then just as quickly darted apart. She shyly smiled and murmured into the mic. “I forgot the rest.”

The teacher up front did quick circles with her right arm, the universal sign of “keep going.” So my daughter just stood there …  smiling. All the kids just stood there … smiling. The audience just sat there … smiling. The music continued … unaccompanied. Two years later finally the chorus hit again. The kids sprung back to life.

“HELLO MY NAME IS CHILD OF THE ONE TRUE KING! …..”

I felt pangs of empathy. But my girl seemed to quickly recover. When the song ended they all took bows. The event was done and people rose to leave. My daughter left the stage, and ran to me pleading.

“Let’s leave. Now.”

As we departed, a couple of people saw her and attempted to tell her what a great job she did. She refused to look at them, much less acknowledge their words. When we were alone outside she let loose the pain.

“I’m a laughing stock!” she said, somewhat dramatically. “I’m the laughing stock of the whole church!”

“No no no no. No you’re not,” I said. “Sure, you made a mistake, but the point is you were on the stage to begin with. You were doing something to make people happy. No one laughed at you. They appreciated you being there. Heck, most of those people wouldn’t be brave enough to just stand on that stage, much less sing. You were great!”

She remained inconsolable. I worked hard to be the caring, understanding dad. We continued talking about it in the car on the way home. She detailed her pain. I consoled her. Eventually she relaxed. Drama remained, but it was now bearable …..

….. until I could resist no longer.

This was too good an opportunity. Some things just had to be said. I could not pass this up. I had the perfect setup.

So I waited a couple minutes. There was silence. Then I pounced.

“So sweetie, I have something to say, but you won’t like it” I said, as kindly as I could.

“What?” she asked gently.

“I guess now …. *pause* … ♪♪ your name is … re-gret! ♪♪.”

I laughed. She’s sworn revenge.

Shame goes good with Chinese

Recently my kids became aware of the process by which one neuters a male dog. I was ignorant of their new knowledge until lunch this past Sunday.

My wife, two kids and I were seated at a booth talking about whatever it is our family tends to talk about. Mom and daughter were on one side, me and the 6-year-old boy facing them on the other. Somehow the topic of babies came up, and my 8-year-old daughter started picking
on mom.

“You need to have another baby, mom!” she said, as brother egged her on. “Have another baby! You need to!”

Mom just smiled a sneaky smile, throwing a sly glance my way. “I’m not going to have any more babies. We can’t have anymore.”

“What?” said my daughter, a mixture of wry amusement and shock. “Were you fixed!? Have you been fixed mom!?”

Brother joined in. “Yeah mom, have you been fixed?”

Mom just grinned. “Nope. Not me.”

Suddenly both siblings turned their heads my way. They then questioned me with a two-word phrase as silly as it is cringe worthy.

“Dad? Have you been fixed,” they started to ask, before reiterating at a slightly higher volume. “DID YOU HAVE YOUR WIENER BALLS CUT OFF??”

They exploded in merriment. My wife joined them. I said nothing. I just looked at each in turn, then looked down at my plate, chin almost to chest, with my best sad face. I wasn’t so much acting as emoting.

“HAHAHAHAHAHA … YOU DON’T HAVE ANY WIENER BALLS NOW DAD? .. HAHAHAHAHAHA … YOU REALLY HAD YOUR WIENER BALLS CUT OUT??”

I folded my arms on the table, then buried my head in an elbow

“DAD DON’T HAVE HIS WIENER BALLS! DAD DON’T HAVE HIS WIENER BALLS!”

As they sang I slowly slid my nestled pillow of crossed arms off the table to the side, and dropped it down to the seat. Dave Chappelle couldn’t get a better reaction.

I didn’t mind the laughter. It was the repeated use of the phrase “wiener balls” that hurt. Not as bad as the actual procedure to which they crudely referred, but still … not pleasant.

As the giggling finally died down and I returned to an upright position, my son asked if he could have some ice cream from the dessert buffet. Mom said for him to ask dad to get it. So I rose with him to retrieve his sweets. As I passed my wife I whispered, “As least I’m still good for something.” She just winked.

Wiener balls ….. ugh.