Socks and ties and socks and underwear and socks and a nice shirt and maybe a wallet or a belt or some of those whiskey stones — for years I took a very material, literal approach to Father’s Day. My dad could rely on certain gifts every year. It’s always a challenge to think of what he actually WANTS. This is a pattern amongst the men in my life — they all like nice things but essentially already HAVE everything.
Here I am with my dad, my brother Patrick on my left and my brother Dominic on my right. I wish I could be home with them right now — a family feast is planned for this afternoon.
This year is a special Father’s Day for my family — for the first year, EVERY man in my family is celebrating as a dad. Also, Father’s Day is Father’s Day around the world, so my brother Clint in the UK is also enjoying the day with his family. I decided to reach out to the dads in my family to ask, instead of assume. What do dads actually want for Father’s Day, anyway?
My dad gave the funniest answer: “We fed up with socks and drawers!” Duly noted! This year my dad told me he wanted a hairbrush. (I’m working on it). And what he REALLY wants is peace, quiet, and happiness in the family.
My brother Patrick will be experiencing his first Father’s Day as a father! His little baby girl Thalia is ADORABLE. I got to meet my newest niece on my last visits home. Already, Patrick doesn’t want any gifts: “As a first time dad…I think any dad would want to spend the day with his family. I am looking forward to seeing Dad, we’re cooking and I was asked to grill. That is perfect for me. I don’t need any other gift.”
My brother Dominic is a father of two, my beautiful nieces Dominique and Isabella. Their happiness takes precedence over his own for Father’s Day: “I don’t want to speak for all fathers but I can honestly say for me, it’s to see my children happy, focused and on a path to success and achievement. And happy within themselves and enjoying themselves — that’s basically all I want. If they do something in particular to honor me on that day, it’s fine. But for me it’s not a material thing, it’s more about the happiness and security of the kids.”
My oldest brother Clint called me from England to offer his ideal Father’s Day scenario: “I don’t need a card, I don’t need a gift. I’m happy to sit and relax and read my Kindle Fire. You see, there are two types of fathers — the ones who don’t care for the fuss and the ones who do and want to be catered to along the lines of Mother’s Day, except with alcohol and food and clothes. I’m one who’s not too bothered. I think if you choose a meal to make, and make it special and feature the things the dad likes to eat, that’s good enough.”
My father-in-law Jim offered a sweet and sincere sentiment: “Happy children who are successful with their lives, faithful to their loved ones and supportive of one another.”
That seems to be the common denominator. All of the dads I know want what’s best for their kids. And that right there, is what makes for a great dad.
Father’s Day can be tough and complicated for many people for many reasons. I wish you love and happiness today no matter what. And if you’re actually able to celebrate Father’s Day in person with your dad and have it be a happy and beautiful celebration, know that you’re so very lucky. Enjoy the day. Tell him you love him. Hug him. Take a picture together. Do the things I wish I could do, today.
Happy Father’s Day, fellas!