In the world of working parents, Father’s Day is hard to miss, bombarded as we are with advertisements promoting everything from ties to watches, hammocks and canoes.
My dear Dad, now retired, believes that the third Sunday of June simply marks the culmination of Father’s Day month, the kickoff of which falls, coincidentally, on Mother’s Day – much to my Mom’s chagrin. Nonetheless, my Dad is happy to receive a plate of his favorite homemade cookies and some new refrigerator art from my youngest.
My husband’s gift, however, requires more deliberation and planning.
Memories of my mother whispering under her breath, “Isn’t every day Father’s Day?” echo through my mind briefly before they’re pushed aside by a more recent image of my favorite stay-at-home spouse pulling a warm plate out of the oven for me when I arrived home after a long day at work.
With the big day right around the corner, my mind raced. Gift-buying is a plate I reluctantly spin because it must stay aloft until the perfect gift is procured. And let’s face it, finding the perfect gift takes time, a precious commodity in and of itself.
While gift cards offer a quick remedy, I have to remember that this gift is for the guy who on more than one occasion has gone above and beyond the call of duty.
Take, for instance, the time he nursed a couple of sons back from tonsillectomies while I had commitments at work, or the valiance he displayed when, during a recent trip to an amusement park, I backed out of a promise to ride with the boys in the front car of the new roller coaster that was scary enough to prompt several safety warnings for the faint-of-heart.
These few examples, coupled with all of the limo driving, band-aid applications and hugs given remind me that something more special is in order for this stay-at-home Dad. Like a new car.
As much as I’d like to do my part to bolster the auto industry, monetary constraints forced me to set my sights on something a little more affordable. I considered a new tie, but since he hasn’t stepped foot inside an office cubicle since our middle boy was born, he’d have little use for a patterned strip of silk.
I decided to confer with the boys.
While the older two wholeheartedly endorsed the new car idea, my younger two recited a list of video games that was strangely reminiscent of their 2011 letters to Santa.
When my only hope for inspiration appeared to be an excruciatingly long window-shopping expedition, my middle son, the voice of reason among his siblings, interceded.
“I asked Dad what he wants.”
Huh. I admired his direct approach.
My son continued, “The zoo.”
Assuming my husband was suggesting a place for us to go so he could have some highly-coveted alone time, a holy grail of sorts for all harried plate-spinning parents, I agreed.
“OK, sure. I haven’t taken you guys to the zoo alone in a long time.”
I beamed at my spot-on deductive reasoning before he clarified, “No, he wants us all to go to the zoo together.”
Considering that a jaunt through the monkey house might trigger flashbacks of being stuck inside with all of my guys on any given rainy day, it dawned on me.
Maybe my Mom was right after all.
Just don’t tell her I said so…