I think dads kind of get shafted a bit with respect to Father’s Day. For Mother’s Day, you see flowers, hearts, brunches everywhere. It’s Valentine’s Day without the red and lingerie. What is the symbol of Father’s Day? A tie, typically. While my own father wore a tie a whole lot during his career, I don’t believe he enjoyed it much. Will only wears ties to weddings, funerals, and job interviews. It’s just kind of a lame symbol1. That being said, Will did get a very cute tie-themed card from Stella at “Daddy and Doughnut Day” at school this past week. It’s amazing in that “this is the first thing my kid has brought home from school to put in the fridge” kind of way. They put a picture of her and a handprint inside. Monet, it’s not. But art to us just the same.
Anyway, back to Father’s Day.
My relationship with my own dad has had its ups and downs over the years. It’s on an upswing at the moment, and I’m grateful. Our last visit in early April was a good one and watching him interact with Stella was something really wonderful – certainly a side of my old man I can’t remember seeing. The last time they had seen her, she was too young to do much (same with Felix now), but this time was very different. Of course the bad thing about feeling good about a relationship with someone is that it leaves you wanting more, and they live so bloody far away. I miss my dad and wish we could hang out for the day and that he could see my kids more.
Will has evolved a lot as a father. He and Stella have a neat relationship and while he’s not as engaged with Felix due to his young age, he’s so much more comfortable and at ease with him that I think he does relax and enjoy him more when he does spend time with him. I love watching him with his kids and am absolutely glad that we spawned.
But what to do for fathers? Typically they are a difficult demographic to shop for, anyway. A pair of shoes or a spa gift card isn’t going to make them as giddy as it would a mother. They aren’t going to want some kind of crummy flowers or to go to brunch in an overcrowded restaurant. For them, it’s experiences. Last year, Will went fishing with his dad and his brother. I think that was a good day for him/them. No demands, no chores. Just man time in a boat, no doubt knocking back a beer or two. This year we’re going to go to Oui Oui’s for a cookout. The honoree(s) will be doing the cooking in the sweltering heat over sweltering heat. Knowing them, they actually don’t mind that much. But it’s the principle, man.
I have a few little doo-dads squirreled away for Will for tomorrow. But my true gift is going to be to attempt to let him sleep until 8:00 or 8:30. Usually I get him up an hour earlier as misery loves company. Hell, I’m often sorely tempted to get him up at 5:00 or 5:30 with the rest of us, but I figure that would be cruel and unusual punishment. Anyway, it’s not a tie, but it’ll have to do.
In closing, I hope all of the dads out there – daddys, grandfathers, stepfathers, etc -have a good day, no matter how it’s celebrated. Thanks for the roughhousing, fixing stuff, lectures on politics, and carrying heavy toddlers around on your shoulders for miles when they get too tired to walk. We joke with you about it, but we literally couldn’t do it without you and certainly wouldn’t want to.
1 Of course, I’m not sure what a better symbol would be. A sperm cell? And for mothers? I don’t feel defined by hearts and flowers. An egg for us?