Father’s Day is coming up, and finding something that your spouse will enjoy can be hard enough under normal circumstances, let alone when we’ve been through a pandemic and nearly everything outside the home is shut down.
I like to think of myself as a pretty average dad, and what I want on Father’s Day isn’t in stores. I don’t want to speak for all fathers, but I’ve gotten some pretty crappy gifts over the years. One year, I received a poop emoji pillow that ultimately ended up in my son’s room. The thing with gifts on Father’s Day is that I don’t really need a tie, or some new shoes, or a T-shirt with “Best Dad In The Galaxy” printed on it along with a picture of The Mandalorian. I also don’t need to leave the house to get what I want. Usually going out to dinner as a family is sweet and all, but it’s kind of a headache.
Here are four simple things I really want during this pandemic Father’s Day, and you know what? I doubt it’s all that much different from what other dads want right now.
To watch a movie from my childhood with my children.
Each Tuesday night, I watch My Little Pony with my two daughters. It’s just the three of us. Norah, age 10, and Aspen, age 6, snuggle up against me. My thirteen-year-old is too cool for this, so he hangs out in his room. Anyway, it’s pretty much the highlight of my week. But I’m not the biggest fan of My Little Pony; I watch it because of my kids.
What I’d love to do is snuggle with kiddos, but while we watch one of my childhood favorites. Perhaps the original Star Wars, or maybe The Goonies. There are so many awesome classic movies streaming right now that the possibilities are endless. I can’t think of too many things more enjoyable than lounging with my children and watching a movie I actually enjoy. I know they will get a kick out of whatever I pick. They just need to give it a chance. Although, without it being part of a Father’s Day gift, I doubt they will give it a chance, so I need this sort of leverage.
My favorite meal.
This one is cliché, I know. And it’s not like this is super complicated — my favorite meal happens to be homemade bean and cheese burritos with Mexican rice. But there is something so sweet and wonderful about having your family ask what you want to eat for your special day. The father in your life might just want a pizza. In fact, the best part about getting takeout is everyone can get something they like, and all this fighting over what’s being served goes out the window, and what I think we all need right now is less complaining and more munching.
Time to work on a hobby.
Fatherhood is pretty chaotic. Even with things getting shut down, I still work two jobs. I love to cycle, and wouldn’t mind spending a couple hours on my bike on Father’s Day. It doesn’t have to be an all-day thing. I’m not in good enough shape for that. Just a couple hours to myself to do what I love doing, guilt free, would be enough. The father in your life might just want some time in the garage, or in the yard, or who knows what. I think the best gift you can give any parent is time to themselves. Especially now, when it feels like my family is together endlessly, and I get zero time alone.
This Father’s Day, give me a nap. Give me uninterrupted sleep that I can have until I wake up with a grumpy disoriented feeling that only comes when you get too much sleep. I’ve been getting up too early and too often for far too long. I’ve been up late stressing about money, and work, and stability, and COVID, for months now, only to be woken in the wee hours by children asking for toast. I’m in need of a nap, and all I ask is that it’s quiet and cool. At this point, I don’t even know if I need a bed. Just a spot on the floor free of toys and Cheerios.
The funny thing is, as I read through this list, I realize that it isn’t all that much different from what my wife asked for on her pandemic Mother’s Day. She wanted to sleep in, and then some time to spend time on her hobby: gardening. She wanted to watch The Sound Of Music with the kids while eating snacks. And when I think about that, perhaps there really isn’t all that much difference between mothers and fathers. We want sleep. And we want our favorite food. And we want a little time to ourselves, so that we can, the next day, get right back to being a parent.
So this Father’s Day, I say keep it simple. Keep it sweet. Make Father’s Day a day of less stress … not only for the dads, but for the people who are celebrating them.