It took 58 years and two World Wars before Father’s Day would join the ranks of Mother’s Day as in officially recognized national holiday. In the early 1900s, a florist remarked that, concerning the absence of an official Father’s Day holiday, “…fathers haven’t the same sentimental appeal that mothers have.” I’m telling you this not out of bitterness but rather to illustrate a point – that a vast majority of the fathers I know (actually ALL of the fathers I know) spend way more time thinking about what they are going to do for their moms, wives, aunts, sisters, etc. on Mother’s Day than they ever do thinking, “What do I want for Father’s Day this year?”
Now, we all know the most traditional Father’s Day gift – the tie. I was curious why and did some research. What did I find? Apparently no one has any idea why a tie became the go-to Father’s Day gift. There’s no significant meaning behind the tie and no powerful mythology associated with the tie as a Father’s Day gift. It seems to simply be that fathers have always worn ties, so that’s what they have always gotten on Father’s Day. Other traditional gifts have been watches, socks, power tools, and slippers. These are all fine gifts – I’d be happy and grateful for any one of them. I need socks, I sometimes wear ties, I think power tools look cool and I’m great at pretending to know how to use them, and if I had a pair of slippers I’m sure I’d enjoy them. The problem is, however, that when I really consider the question of, “What do I want for Father’s Day?” none of these are even close.
So what do I want for Father’s Day? Here’s my Father’s Day wish list:
1. The first one involves my four legged children. For Father’s Day, I want my dogs to get together and agree on a six square foot area in the yard in which to do their business. That’s right, you heard me – my first wish involves poop. I have a very modest yard. It doesn’t take very long to mow and it didn’t cost us a ton when we had it fenced in. However, there is this thing that happens when I go to scoop up the dog’s poop – the yard magically turns into a vast, unending desert. I spend what seems like hours wandering the yard, back and forth, uncovering poop treasures along the way. I’m like the Israelites wandering in the desert. And, of course, I always manage to miss a few spots which are soon uncovered by my three year old’s tennis shoe. So for Father’s Day, I want my dogs to pick a spot and leave it all there.
2. My second wish involves golf. No, I don’t want new clubs. I don’t want a weekend getaway with the guys. I don’t even want tickets to the next Master’s. Nope, what I want for Father’s Day is to be able to lay on the couch on a Sunday afternoon, turn on the final round of the tournament, and…nap. There may be no greater sleep on earth than the kind that comes to falling asleep with the T.V. quietly humming with the sounds of golf. It’s like an entire night’s rest compacted in to two hours. For Father’s Day, I want an uninterrupted Sunday afternoon two hour golf nap.
3. My third wish involves some recognition. I would like appropriate acknowledgment for the beating I take on an almost daily basis when wrestling two small children. I don’t care that my kids are only 7 and 3, any creature running full speed and then launching knee-first onto your back hurts like hell. And of course, as a dad, I must show no pain. I would like an official proclamation stating that all dads who wrestle with their kids, who take what seems like an unending barrage of errant kicks to the crotch – and still manage to continue on – are supermen.
4. For my final Father’s Day wish I would like to continue the tradition that started when my sisters and I couldn’t figure out what to give my step-father one year for Father’s Day. What came out of that dilemma was our new, official Father’s Day go-to item – the tacky yard ornament. Every Father’s Day became a quest to find an awful display of lawn art worse than the last year’s. It was an accidental tradition – always the best kind. When I became a father, the tradition became mine, as well. So far, I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the amazingly awful stuff my wife and kids have been able to locate. There is something about carrying on this silly tradition that gives me a sense of connection to my father and, in a strange way, to fatherhood in general. I hope my son will be fortunate enough someday to join in the tradition.
So there it is, my Father’s Day wish list. No ties, no socks, no watches, no power tools, no slippers. I’d be perfectly happy with any of them – but I’d rather just have a horribly lovely garden gnome.
Daniel currently lives in Helena with his wife, Kristen, and two children – Andrew, and Victoria. After working in the mental health field for 10 years, Daniel has recently received his teaching certificate and will begin his new life as a teacher in the fall. Along with daily wrestling matches with the kids, Daniel spends much of his time trying to find something for Andrew to eat.