Spent the next several hours surrounded by a double-sized passel of hellion children whose parental units weren't watching them or disciplining them. Took any opportunity to remove myself from the area, including being in the sun to put the canvas tops on the patio tents (it's that time of year).
Surrounded by family, and knowing I was the only man there not a "father"...well, yeah, got that familiar twinge, just like every year. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud of the impact I have on Erik's life, but he has a father, and that useless lump of twat will always be his "Dad", sadly. As I was leaving, at least one of the guys hailed me happy returns of the day, and I wished it back, like I had wished it to all of them, mostly in false sincerity as my eyes and ears tried not to acknowledge the poor job they were doing at sporting that title. Lori had made little individual cheesecakes for each of the guys and each of the kids, so I got one of those, but apart from those two mentions, not a word passed my way in the spirit of the holiday. I called my Dad back, this evening, and he didn't say it. Erik didn't call me, didn't even e-mail me or IM me about it. It shouldn't hurt, but it did.
Got all the grocery shopping done. Bought a couple bottles of a promising looking Gewürztraminer in planning for an Italian chicken dinner later this week (christ, there's 4 billion options for boring fucking Chardonnay on the shelf, and 3 for Gewürztraminer? That's just bullshit.), and found a cheap but good looking bottle of Sangria for the hell of it. Broke down and bought a pack of cloves, too, because, well, I wanted them.
Ran an CoH arc written by avantard to get a little down-time in (good stuff, but challenging), and stepped out for a smoke and a start to my next book in the stack (Tom Robbins' Still Life With Woodpecker). Enjoyed what I read so much, i came in and started over, reading out loud to Dianna while we sipped glasses of Sangria. We both got so caught up in it, laughing and enjoying it, I got half the book read before I had to take a break. Of course, now I don't want to read more until I can read it out with Di, so I guess I'll grab the next next book on the stack for bedtime reading (A.L. Haskett's Duncan Delaney and the Cadillac of Doom).
To all of you out there enjoying the privilege of fatherhood, my hat's off and my glass is raised to you. Appreciate it, it's a grand thing.