I’m a lucky guy. In our family, Father’s Day is a big deal. The kids make me cards and sometimes even bring me toast in bed. (I’m really not that wild about toast, but it’s the only thing they can cook.)
They also get me “guy” gifts, especially of the tech variety. One year it was a speaker system, since my Pink Floyd tracks sound kinda lame on a laptop. One year it was a plastic fish trophy that wriggled its tail and sang “Take Me To The River.” One year it was a super-rugged smartphone case (It was bulletproof, but I could never get the thing out of my jeans pocket).
Don’t get me wrong. I love gadgets. I drool over gadgets. I spend hours researching obscure hardware specs and combing through technical manuals. But the truth is, I like to buy my gadgets myself—that way I get the make and model I want. And the way I see it, Father’s Day isn’t really about me. Oh, sure, I’m the focus of attention, but the purpose of the occasion is not to cater to my cravings or celebrate my existence—that’s why we have birthdays.
Father’s Day is about the role I play in this crazy family, and in particular, the stuff I do with the kids. Getting them to school in the morning. Coaching soccer on Saturday. Making pancakes on Sunday. Reading Harry Potter at night. Putting fresh batteries in the channel changer. Keeping abreast of crucial developments in the world of dinosaurs, sharks, and flying squirrels. In addition, of course, to the unsung paternal duties like memorizing the wifi password and maintaining an adequate supply of toilet paper in the bathroom.
So for me, the ideal Father’s Day is an occasion to celebrate our family, together with a Dad-sized dollop of fun. First, we’re all going to lay off the screens for a while (thank you, Circle, for making this part easy.) Then take group bike ride down to the riverfront park. Followed by a game of frisbee, hopefully fueled by chocolate-chip cookies. Then a boardgame we can all play together (because I need to avenge my last disastrous loss at King of Tokyo). An action movie with plenty of explosions and at least one car chase. Cards! Seriously, there’s nothing more precious to me than cards from my kids. And top it off with a big meal we can all enjoy. Toast, anyone?