Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Reflections on Father's Day

My second Father's Day has come and gone, and I'm only now starting to decipher my feelings about my day, and the day in general. While I enjoyed the activities that were scheduled for me, including a nice picnic breakfast with friends on Saturday and a family dinner on Sunday, I felt too much trouble was put into all the planning and execution. I can't speak for every father, obviously, but I'm beginning to think Father's Day, if nothing else, should perhaps be a day where we actually prove our worth as fathers, allowing the "men to be men" by doing some of the things we do best.

Now, I'm a guy who enjoys a nice facial from time to time. I don't mind sitting down for two or three World Cup soccer matches in a row. I appreciate getting "props" for being a dad, having a day where fathers get some due. But sitting around while my wife slaves in the kitchen might look cool on Mad Men, but it's not really my thing. After one or two 1-0 or 0-0 World Cup matches, I'm itching for something to do. It being "my day" doesn't mean I can't lend a hand. I mean, it's not my birthday!

So when our son went down for a nap or he and the wife went out for a(nother) run to the store, I tried straightening up the house, doing laundry, even attempting to organize an already fairly organized garage. Unfortunately, we live in a rental so there's no yard work or house upkeep to perform. No dog, so I couldn't walk it, etc. What I'm getting at is I now feel Father's Day is a good day for fathers to do manly things -- around the house, with the kids, whatever. Taking a day off, "earned" or not, isn't all that "manly" is it?

Which brings me to the food and cooking part. My wife's father and uncle are very good, some say great, grillers of meat. They know what they're doing, and I've learned that grilling a piece of chicken until it's burnt is not how it's done. There's skill to the art, and I'm happy to have two guys close by that are willing to impart their knowledge to me (and enjoy the fruits of their labor, as well).

So, on all days, I'm now thinking Father's Day is the perfect day for dads/guys to do at least one thing we do well and enjoy. Given it's June, firing up the BBQ is easy and appropriate. I was in on the decision making for the menu, so I surely ate food that I and others like, but if we grill we are in total control of what we want and how it's done. And when it comes to being a father, who among us doesn't enjoy a little control now and then?

Yes, I know this isn't the ONLY thing(s) Father's Day is about (soccer, BBQs and control, haha). I know it's about being a father, a dad, getting recognition for whatever it is we actually do to help raise our kids. The day is about spending time with our kids, our families and maybe getting a pat on the back for being that guy. There are many role models for being a good father, but we are also the role models for future fathers. And I guess THAT is what it's all about.

About the photo: The above photo was one of many of our son from a "secret" photo shoot that my wife had done for me, shot by a work friend who is getting into photography. The shirt reads "I 'heart' Dadoo," which my wife made using a stencil and iron. "Dadoo" is one his early versions of "dada" so it's a thing that's stuck. The photos were great and one was used on a coffee mug for my Father's Day gift. It was a nice surprise :)