While the Lords of Commerce would lead us to believe the celebration of Father’s Day is best addressed by a special sale on power tools, a funny card written with marginally funny puns or maybe a colorful new tie, the truth is much different for many of us.
Truth be told, I’d rather just sit around with my wife, laughing as we retell stories of experiences you can only gain as a parent.
The other day she and I were driving along when we somehow wandered into a story of how our daughter created a scene walking into her first-grade classroom on Career Day.
The young teacher, in her first couple years of teaching and newly married, pulled my wife aside.
As our daughter mingled with friends dressed in a simple blue tank dress, a wide black belt around her waist and her blonde hair pulled into two giant pigtails, the teacher pulled my wife spoke to my wife in a concerned voice.
“You know today is career day, right?” she said as our daughter met up with her friends in the classroom. “What is she dressed as today?”
My wife smiled and looked the teacher in the eyes. “Bubbles the Power Puff Girl.”
The teacher, to our surprise, was offended – a feeling she reflected in the tone of her voice.
“We really want the kids to pick careers that are more like doctors, lawyers or the like. Maybe we could tell her she’s a police officer.”
My wife just took deep breath and said, “No, she’s Bubbles the Power Puff girl today. It’s who she wants to be – and I’m fine with it.”
My wife told me later of how she’d wished you could’ve told the teacher, “Just you wait until you have children end up doing battle with strong-willed child. Then we’ll see when and where you pick your battles.”
The story brought back a flood of memories of the days I’d come home and our daughter would be running around the house dressed as the cartoon crime-fighter Bubbles as if the costume were just another outfit she’d found in her closet.
As my wife and I drove down the road the other day I think we both found ourselves laughing at hard at that memory as the day it happened. Parenting is, after all, a tag team sport.
You see, I really don’t want anything for Father’s Day other than the time to sit around and talk, visit and take an occasional drink from the memories parenting supplies me with. Nothing housed inside a giant, big-box store will ever make me laugh or smile as much as my journey as a parent. As nice as a tie can be, one day I will determine someone might need it more than me and place it a box of donations.
But when it comes to the memories only parenting can bring, the only place they will be found is safely tucked away in a heavily protected box called my heart.
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