Yesterday was Father’s Day and we spent the day with Vince’s dad and Vince’s sons and the rest of the clan. It was a houseful of men; some fathers, some sons, some both. The women were in a decided minority, but as I was expected to neither cook for nor serve the houseful of men, it was all good.
I’m not sure why this is, but Father’s Day generally involves the manly act of cooking meat on a grill. Fortunately, no one has ever accused me of being especially manly and I have no need to impress anyone with my burger flipping abilities. Besides, since the time I attempted to cook a steak on a gas grill when I nearly singed off my eyebrows, my involvement with the ol’ Weber has been pretty much non-existent.
So, with my eyebrows still firmly attached, I thoroughly enjoyed the day. Which was rather nice, considering it wasn’t “Jane’s Day.” No one gave me a card or a present. And that didn’t even bother me, although I confess that I love receiving cards and presents. Guess I’ll just have to wait until Jane’s Day, eh? Probably Hallmark is working on a new line of cards for that national holiday as we speak.
Why, no, I’m not delusional. Why do you ask?
No, but seriously. I did feel a little bad that I wasn’t able to spend Father’s Day with my own dad since he’s up at the
Cape now. Instead, I called him. I sent him a card. And I attempted to find him a pair of slippers that he’s looking for. Apparently, they no longer make the same kind of men’s slippers like the ratty ones my dad has worn for decades. Go figure.
Shopping for my dad is a lesson in futility. I mean, this is my dad we’re talking about. He doesn’t need anything and there is nothing he says he wants. He’s not into electronic gadgets. He gets his books from the library. He already has a drawer full of socks. And he rarely wears ties anymore.
So I was pretty excited to have an actual goal in mind. Slippers? No problem.
You think women are tough to buy for? Please. Anything shiny or sparkly – and we’re good.
When you shop for the menfolk, you have to remember numbers for both pant length and pant width. Their shirts come with collar widths and sleeve lengths. Come on – that’s four numbers to remember if you’re just trying to buy a pair of pants and a nice shirt for him! Believe me, there is no way you can possibly guess that something will fit just by looking at it. So I’d need a cheat sheet before stepping foot in the men’s department.
Oh, and most importantly, you have to remember that to some men “polyester” is not a dirty word. Apparently, wrinkle-free is a major selling point. Any article of clothing that requires dry cleaning or ironing is not going into the shopping bag. Or, if a woman foolishly purchases something because (a) the numbers are all correct and (b) it looks nice – but she fails to recognize that ironing or dry cleaning will be required – then back to the store it will go.
Actually, now that I think about it, this is probably a good thing. I, for one, cannot remember the last time I ironed something for myself, let alone for anyone of the male persuasion. I’m not even sure my iron still works…and I’m not all that anxious to find out.
Donna Reed, I’m not.
So, sadly, my dad didn’t have a gift from me to open on Father’s Day. But since I did spend last weekend driving my parents to
Cape Cod, Dad probably thought that was present enough. And I did buy a Boston Cream Pie – his favorite – to celebrate Father’s Day a bit early.
The thing about dads is that they don’t really need an armful of gifts to know that their children love them. They just need to know that their kids are doing well and are trying their hardest. Whether it’s learning to ride a bike, or learning their lessons in school. Whether it’s excelling at their jobs, or excelling in their own roles as parents, dads everywhere just want the best for their children. They hope that the lessons they taught their kids have somehow been taken to heart. Unselfishly, they want their children to have a better life than they’ve had – even if their life has been a pretty good one.
And they’re happy even when their kids give them yet another tie or pair of socks for Father’s Day.
So to all the dads out there – I hope you had a wonderful Father’s Day. I hope you were able to spend the day with your children – young and old alike. I hope you didn’t singe off your eyebrows while you were manning the grill. And I really hope nobody gave you non-polyester pants that need to be ironed or dry cleaned.
To all of you who no longer have your dads here to wish a Happy Father’s Day, my heart goes out to you. I know you'd give anything to have the chance once again to buy your dad a Father's Day gift - even if they are impossible-to-find slippers.
But I'm guessing that that there are a whole lot of dads in heaven who are probably standing around a grill in wrinkle-free pants – and they’re sending their love back to you. They know how much you miss them and that you wish they were still here so you could spend the day with them. And they know you’re doing your best and that you’ve taken all the lessons they taught to heart.
Someday you’ll meet again and you’ll be able to tell them how you feel. But I suspect they already know.
And to all of you who have your dads here on this earth and you can still wrap your arms around him, I hope you take the opportunity as often as possible. Life, if you haven’t heard, is short. And you don’t want to regret lost opportunities.
And, finally, to my own dad – I hope you know how much I love you. Have you been the perfect dad? Well, mostly. But, um, I'm still a little fuzzy on that whole "compound interest" thing. And I always forget which direction you tighten a bolt. But mostly I think you're the best father this daughter could ever have asked for. I'm so blessed to be able to call you my dad.
Happy Father’s Day, dad. And...don't worry. I'm still lookin' for those slippers!