Every year my wife, Mel, seems confused as to what I really want. And every time she asks, I always say something intangible, something that can’t be bought, and she looks at me like I’m crazy. Like if she doesn’t buy me something, I’m going to be disappointed. And while I am always thrilled when she buys me a new biking jersey, or a phone, I’m not kidding when I say I’d like a nap or a little lovin’.
There is something so chaotic about parenting and marriage that buying me something isn’t nearly as valuable as a little free time. So here is a list of a few things I’d really like for Father’s Day this year, and why. This isn’t an all-inclusive list, and I wouldn’t expect all of these in one day (sensory overload!). My hope is that this will help you find that right gift for that special father in your life.
Typical. I know. But there is more. When I say sex, I don’t mean with anyone. I mean with my wife. And this isn’t to say that we don’t have sex. We do. I should be more specific: I would like to have sex without being rushed. Without cramming it in (pardon the pun) during nap time, or in that magical window of time when the kids get to bed early and actually stay asleep (nothing ruins the passion like a little girl knocking on the door and asking for a cup of water).
I’d like to do it without my wife worrying about getting this or that done, and without me wondering if she’s still into me, when in fact she is, but she just can’t stop thinking about the kids’ homework. A time when she isn’t “touched-out” from having a toddler tug at her body all day. Basically, I want uninterrupted sexual free time, where we can focus on how much we love each other (and yes, we do) without all the distractions that just happen when being the parents of young children.
2. Netflix and Pizza
This is not a play on Netflix and chill. I already talked about sex (although, I admit, a good pizza can almost be sexual). And I must say, I’m in my early 30s. I grew up in the Blockbuster and relax era. We invented movies and sex!
No. No. I want a movie and pizza. Plain and simple. Mel will be there, naturally. But what I want is to watch something with bad language along with a pizza, and the woman I love, and not worry about the kids listening. As a parent, there is a hierarchy of movies in our home. If Pixar or DreamWorks made it, if it has an animal protagonist, if it stars a puppet with a hand up its poor ass, then I have seen it.
If Mel and I watch a movie together, it’s usually something we agree on, which is almost always a romantic comedy. This means I get to watch about two movies that I actually want to see each year. I want to watch The Expendables while snuggling with my wife. I want to watch something with explosions and sweat and gasoline. And I want to do it with pizza. I don’t want to keep a toddler from stomping on my crotch while I sit on the sofa, and I don’t want to worry about explaining to my children that it’s not OK to punch a man for taking the money you stole from a bank.
3. A Nap
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, or kids, or if I have enough money for my kids, or whatever, only to then be woken in the wee hours by a sweet gummy-grinned little person asking for toast. 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 might be enough.
4. Time to Work on a Hobby
The one thing I never have time for is biking. Before kids, I’d spend hours on my bike, but now, I just can’t without feeling guilty. I miss that—a lot. This Father’s Day, I’d love to go for a bike ride without a curfew. I don’t want to worry about being back at a particular time. I just want to ride, and not think about a thing. I want to pretend it’s like the old days, and not to worry. I won’t be out all day. I’m not in good enough shape for that anymore—not even close. In fact, every time I put on my bike jersey I realize I’m a solid A-cup. But I just want to think that I could be out all day, if I wanted to.
The funny thing is, as I read through this list, I realize that it isn’t all that much different from what Mel asks for on Mother’s Day. She usually wants to spend time on her hobby, gardening. And she want’s to watch a chick flick with me, while eating something fattening. 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 pizza. And we want a little time to ourselves, so that we can, the next day, get back to being a parent.