Happy Father’s Day to the Boss!

Father’s Day is coming up, and in honor of the occasion, here is one of my favorite stories about my husband’s role as father:

Our son was about four or five. I know it was after our daughter was born, but before she could communicate well herself. So it was in about 1986 or ’87.

My husband told our son to do something, and, as kids that age do, young son protested. “Why do I have to?” he whined.

The Assistant Boss and Junior Assistant Boss

“Because I said so.” Not the best parenting technique, but it worked for my husband with his dirt bags in the Naval Reserves.

“Why do you get to say so?” son asked.

“Because I’m the Boss.” Again, what works with sailors doesn’t always work with children.

“Why do you get to be the Boss?”

“Because I am.”

Son decided he needed further role clarification. “If you’re the Boss, what am I?”

“You can be the Assistant Boss,” my husband said, announcing this with great seriousness, which at least earned him points for creativity. And son seemed happy to have “Boss” in his title somewhere.

But he got to thinking about his position in the family. “What is [toddler sister]?” son asked.

“She can be the Junior Assistant Boss.” Again, my husband was thinking on his feet. And son was glad to have a rank higher than the baby.

Then son spotted a potential problem, and his eyes got wide. “If you’re the Boss, what’s Mom?”

Dad didn’t hesitate. “Oh, Mom—she’s the Real Boss.”

And that solved everything. And continues to solve it to this day.

On a side note, the Boss became important later on in our family for another reason. After the children reached high school years and decided to expand their father’s musical appreciation, one of them gave their father a CD of Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. album. Thereafter, the Boss went with us on most of our road trips. As the Real Boss, I sometimes objected to the volume.


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