Father Knows Best
With Fathers’ Day upon us, I’ve been swamped with requests from my wife and son for an idea of what I want.
My own father never made a big deal out of Fathers' Day. We didn’t need a day set aside when it was okay to break down the manly walls and express how we felt about each other with some cheesy card or itchy tie. Dad and I were close, and always enjoyed spending time together.
As adults, we had a standing Wednesday lunch where we could talk about what was happening, share some funny stories and generally relax in each others’ company. Lunch always stretched into a couple of hours.
When he died of a sudden heart attack at 63, I lost my best friend. And even though he left with me expecting many more years and lunches with him, he left with nothing unsaid or unresolved between us. I was lucky, and didn’t need a special Father’s Day set aside for either of us to know it.
So now with a son of my own, Fathers’ Day mostly comes and goes without too much fanfare. I’m lucky that I also feel appreciated on most days already by an affectionate eight year old who so far would rather spend time with his dad than just about anyone.
Still, if really pressed, there are a couple of things I wouldn’t mind having if someone is looking for a special treat for dad.
I’d like to have dinner is some place that’s not described as a “family restaurant”, has an indoor playground, or has laminated menus that are as sticky as the floor.
I’d like to be able to lock the bathroom door for more than eight seconds before someone is knocking on it with “an emergency”.
I’d like to mow the lawn without plastic army men shooting out from the lawnmower and embedding themselves in my ankles.
I’d like to watch one television program that isn’t animated, features robots, wizards, child twins or is simply a thinly-disguised vehicle for selling overpriced toys.
I’d like to go to the movies without having to get up three times to take a certain someone to the bathroom, thereby missing whatever plot there was and tossing sixty bucks out the window.
I’d like to be able to find any two of our three remotes.
I’d like to be able to walk through the living room without crushing a couple hundred bucks of Lego underfoot.
I’d like to be able to read the newspaper without being asked: “Are you through yet?” every three minutes.
I’d like to sleep past 7:15 on Saturday mornings and be early once on school days.
Still, all of that is a small price to pay for a son who is happy to see you every morning and insists on a story before he can fall asleep, and wants to do special things for you whether it is Fathers’ Day or not.
Plus, at eight my son isn’t shy yet about giving his dad a big hug in public.
Just the other day he said to me: “Dad, I love you.” Unfortunately, it was followed with: “So, how long are you going to be in the bathroom?”
© Stephen Lautens 2010