I don’t need a new tie or a fancy new watch. I don’t need a new grill or any new barbecue utensils. I don’t need a t-shirt or coffee mug with “The World’s Greatest Dad” stenciled in bold script.
Father’s Day is coming up this Sunday and I don’t need or want any presents. In preparation for the day, I told my kids to save their money. However, I made one big request.
In the day’s leading up Father’s Day in years past, when my kids have asked me for gift ideas, I’ve always told them to surprise me with just a card. I’ve told them that anything will do. This year, though, I’ve taken a different tack.
I told them that I didn’t want them to spend any money on me. They immediately got suspicious. They’re smart kids. They immediately thought I was planning some type of hard labor such as a family painting project, help mowing the yard, or a massive cleaning of our house. (On second thought, maybe I should have kept that last one on the table.)
No, I told them that the best gift they could get me was for the five of us to hang out together. When I’ve made this request in the past, they’ve usually pooh-poohed and laughed at me, but I cherish time with them above everything else.
I’ll give up a shiny new tie for an hour of deep conversation with them. I’ll inevitably spill something on that new tie. Technology is fun and I love new gadgets, but today’s hot new app or novelty gets old in a matter of minutes. I’m sorry for electing to pass. By contrast, my kids never get old to me. I love hearing them talk about everything going on in their lives. Their lives, both the mundane and “the giddy with excitement” events, fascinate me and I get to hang with all three of them so infrequently. For me, it’s a no-brainer.
Fortunately for me, my kids—at least to my face—say they still like hanging out with my wife and me too. They could be joking with me or, even God forbid, pulling the wool over my eyes, but I’ll take it. This parenting thing is hard as heck, but when it goes right, there’s nothing better.
Happy Father’s Day.