Parenting Blog

That Was A Perfect Father’s Day

I wanted to have Mouse’s school buds, the ones who came to her paint-yer-own-pottery party two weeks ago, over to the house for an end of school par-tay, a brief frolic in the meadow, er, backyard, to pick up their finished gnomes and glazed dragons, and to say fare-thee-well to one of their own who’s moving many states away this summer. I picked Sunday, June 16th for this merry gathering. Seemed like a good date, our calendar was wide open as was that of the young lass off to Texas next week. I later found out that Sunday June 16th is some kind of holiday. Imagine my surprise when one of the mom’s asked me, “isn’t that father’s day?” Um, oops?

Only half of the invitees could make it, but that was more than enough for a grand afternoon. And it might seem odd, to have such a fiesta and odder still to be the only papa at such a fiesta on Dad’s Day. But it was about as perfect a day as there could be for this dad who doesn’t care one ounce about the fiction that is father’s day.

Here’s why:

  • The house was clean, like really clean, cleaner than it has been all year. Our house only seems to achieve this level of cleanliness when company is coming over. Sometimes I think I schedule events at home just to invite the cleaning bug in to sting that crap out of my girls. Of course, the cleaning bug is more effective with a side order of screaming.
  • I waited on everyone, indentured servitude-style. Maybe I’m the opposite of a normal guy in this regard. Well, this is probably one of many ways I am an oppositer (made up word). I don’t want to be fanned or fed grapes (or even cookies!), all of that Roman-style pampering business makes me twitchy. I think I get this from my mom who is also uncomfortable being waited on hand and foot, or even sitting still. And lest you think we haven’t had the opportunity. My dad’s business was kinda killing it during the┬áReagan administration and so we traveled a bit. Once, in Jamaica when I was 8, we rented a house that, in addition to coming with the usual things in the usual places — beds, tables, kitchens (yeah, I think there was more than one) — also came with people: a driver, a chef, a pool boy, a housekeeper, and multiple servers. That first day was A-W-K-W-A-R-D. We felt strange and The Help felt, I guess, even stranger to not be allowed to do their jobs without assistance from the pasty white folk. Anyway, I like to serve, to make up plates of food, to take orders, and to clean up everything. When I was a boy, I wanted to be a chef and loved to be in the kitchen designing plate layouts for the food I’d make for my parents. Okay, so maybe part of adult me loves doing this because it usually excuses me from conversation which isn’t really a strong suit of mine, not the small talk variety anyway.
  • The kids were having a blast on the swing set and climbing dome, and spraying the Zing Air Huntress bow and arrows all over the yard. We also had a water table set up, soccer ball and net, and tee-ball. And that was just out of doors! Inside, the Bear got to play school (there is nothing I can do to make her happier than surround her with attentive 6-year-old kids. She’s in her glory being little mommy/teacher/camp counselor/Sherpa), the dress-up box was raided, and instruments were used to form a ragtag band of roving musicians. “I’ve Been Working On The Railroad” seems to be their hit single.
  • The Mrs. got to sit down for a few hours with other moms to chat. Outside of her work, she doesn’t get this chance often. Usually, it’s just me making fart jokes. She needed mom-talk and enjoyed it very much. To my knowledge, there was no farting at that table.
  • I watched a pair of enjoyable football matches from Brazil.
  • “If it wasn’t on Instagram, did it really happen?” Yes, yes it did. None of the moms took a single photo. And neither did I. They chatted, I worked, the kids played, and the day just happened. It was. But it wasn’t documented. And that is about a refreshing as anything can be right now, like a glass of cold water after a glass of cold chocolate milk after mowing the backyard on a 100-degree day…after a glass of cold chocolate milk.

Kid’s parties on Mother’s/Father’s Day, in the end, make perfect sense. Funny, that. Without dem kids we wouldn’t qualify for such holiday, and without them happy, our lives as moms/dads are unquestionably more miserable.

Because a beautiful childhood is my main goal of fatherhood, three hours of easily organized fun that makes my girls smile makes me smile. Also, cold chocolate milk!

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