Dedicated to my dad in honor of Father's Day. "Harry Rogers" never would have existed were it not for Arthur Hunt.
Come to think of it, neither would I. :)
* * *
Harry Rogers never pictured himself a father.
When he first married Katharine, they discussed the possibility of children in the future. While the idea terrified him (truthfully, it left him pale and shaken with an appetite for scotch he didn't fully comprehend), he told his wife - whom he loved truly, madly and very deeply - he'd consider it.
She gave him seven years to consider it before she dropped it in his lap with a large smile and a Father's Day card in the middle of October. He remembers opening the card, reading the 'congratulations' scrawled inside it, and feeling a bubble of pure joy work it's way up his throat.(1)
Claire was born in March. Katharine took to motherhood like a natural while Harry stumbled through it like an amatuer. He spent the first three months of her life living in fear of dropping her. He'd bundle her up just to move her around the house, a precaution against his clumsiness and worry.
Claire was six when they had Patrick and by then Harry was a pro. He changed diapers, never dropped his newborn son(2), never lost sight of his precocious and rambunctious children, and became very very good at keeping calm in the face of unbelievable insanity.
Which was good, because after Claire's six birthday, "unbelievable insanity" took on a whole new meaning.
* * *
The most memorable Father's Day of Harry's youth was when Claire was just eight years old. She left a handwritten note in the kitchen, discovered hours after she'd disappeared, stating she'd decided to take off on a "holy mission". Katharine had been immediately frantic, calling everyone they knew.(3) While she panicked, Harry went upstairs and checked Claire's room. He found her piggy bank missing and, knowing his daughter's penchant for equating cupcakes with the Lord,(4) decided to take a walk down the street.
He found her in a bakery three blocks away from their house, just as he suspected he would. She was covered in crumbs and streaked with chocolate, the remnants of her piggy bank on the chair beside her. He sat down next to her and she offered him the remainder of a vanilla cupcake, which he took and bit into without a second thought.
"What did you do today, Claire?" he asked around a mouthful of cake and icing, which was excellent.
"I communed with God," she said.
"Did you now?" She nodded, proud and sure. "And how did you do that, exactly?"
She smiled widely. "I ate six chocolate cupcakes."
Harry hid a smile behind a napkin and swallowed the remainder of his cupcake. "Did you know insanity is hereditary, my gorgeous girl?" he asked. Claire shook her head, red curls bouncing in opposing directions. He took a napkin and began to clean her face. "Well it is." He crumpled up the napkin and smiled at her, far too relieved to be angry. "You get it from your kids."
* * *
Harry remembers perfectly when Claire took her first communion. She accepted the wafer from the priest, set it in her mouth, and turned to look at her family with a terribly disgusted look on her face that made Katharine roll her eyes almost instantly. It made Harry laugh out loud, only to be shushed by his wife.
"How was it?" Harry asked afterwards as they left the church.
"It wasn't cupcakes and milk," she grumbled, "that's for sure."
(1) It wasn't, unfortunately, joy. It was instead food poisoning. But once he was feeling better, he definitely bubbled over with joy. In a masculine way, of course.
(2) Accidentally allowing him to roll off the countertop into a trash can does not constitute "dropping". Don't argue semantics with an English professor.
(3) She basically called Michael and yelled at him for half an hour about shirking his duties as Claire's guardian angel. Michael's hair was dirty blonde before he met Claire...he blames the gray strands on both her and her mother. Every single one of them.
(4) Katharine had once given Claire a chocolate cupcake and told her it was God's favorite thing in the entire universe. Children make associations, hilarious and typically incorrect associations.