Today was a great Father’s Day. What an awesome thing it is to actually be a dad on Father’s Day! It’s fun to be on this side of things.
As usual, today was filled with its share of difficulties and challenges. Slipping on a $10 pair of thick wool socks changed things, however. Walking into church with my family that had to be wrestled there for the purpose, I had a huge grin on my face as I satisfyingly strolled in with feet stuffed into these cozy socks and a full get-up that was impervious to rain and cool temperatures in the 40s. While sitting through the service I became more and more excited to get my family out on another adventure, and especially because it was raining. A second day of being mostly indoors would have been a strategic blunder. Never underestimate a good pair of socks. Not only will they keep you warm, but they seem to inspire greater possibilities. I’m still wearing these things, and continue to bask in the satisfaction they bring.
This afternoon we drove about an hour up the north shore of Lake Superior through driving rain, and then on cue the rain stopped when we reached our first destination. Pardon the digression, but driving to a chosen destination is a great way to spend a rain together! Rather than being cooped up in the house like criminals, we listened to an awesome dramatization of a Chronicles of Narnia story together. What a contrast to how the day could have gone! This was worth the cost of the gas alone.
I was excited to show the kids that we can continue to have fun in inclement weather with the right clothing and attitude, but we stayed completely dry as we enjoyed Gooseberry Falls together. Later we enjoyed 8-10 foot swells that crashed into Iona’s Beach. By that point it was still only 48 degrees, but it was sunny and the wind had stopped altogether. It was sublime as we enjoyed this beach all to ourselves. I just loved being covered head to toe entirely in wool. I was literally clad 100% in wool head to toe with my Stormy Kromer hat, wool flannel and base layer, nice wool pants that are fancy enough for church, and the Smart Wool socks I’ve already rhapsodized. This may have been the first time I’ve been so fortified on the 15th of June! Oh how I love it, and yes I have a super soft pair of boxer briefs made out of the stuff. Only northern Minnesota makes this possible as much of the rest of the country swelters.
The point is that I got to enjoy what I wanted to do. I’m blessed with a family that is committed to doing whatever suits my fancy on Father’s Day. Being so gifted, I am learning to refuse to take it for granted, and also to refuse to live in guilt. This is important. I live far from both my dad and father-in-law, and it’s usually difficult to not feel this pang of guilt on Father’s Day and Mother’s Day because we never really seem to do enough. Also, the little we do do is usually a little late since neither my wife or I are adequate planners.
Well, I’ve finally realized that Father’s Day properly celebrated should really be focused on the dads who are actually in the trenches doing the fathering. With twins in elementary school, that would be me. I might have 50 or so Father’s Days remaining, so I don’t plan on wasting any of them. We did exactly what I wanted, when I wanted today, and it was one of those rare days of perfection. It’s kind of funny, because much of it was indeed a struggle, but my memory of it is absolute perfection. This is what I want Father’s Day to be. It may be different for your family, and I do believe on paying true honor and respect to our fathers and grandfathers, but frankly I’m utterly exhausted, as are most dads. We are the ones that need the day right now. The same goes, often doubly so, for young mothers. Also, I don’t want 30 minutes of cake and ice cream after lunch. I want the whole damn day. Just saying.
Thus, we sent cards and made phone calls, but we really focused on having a fantastic day as a family doing what it was I wanted to do, and not trying to live up to other expectations (which are often self-imposed quite frankly).
We ended the day with a chicken dinner my wife had waiting in the oven for us when we came home (225 degrees for 4+ hours). I cannot believe my wife is so brave that she can just throw the meat in the cooker for an indeterminate amount of time and have it turn out perfectly. Amazing. Of course I’m not much of a cook, and it all seems like sorcery to me anyway.
Finally, to end the day, I’ve got a small fire in the wood stove to take the edge off, and am enjoying an Elvis Presley gospel album turning on the record player amid the soft light of an oil lamp and candle. This caps off a perfect day for me. Some would call this selfish, and that’s utter poppycock. The entire family was together all day and loved it. Also, we need to be looking after ourselves so we have more to give as parents. Period. Living in guilt all the time is no way to live. I encourage you to find a way to do the same. Perhaps you should enjoy a redo of Father’s or Mother’s Day if you missed it somehow. I give you permission! How many of these days do you have left????
FYI, we did dote plenty on the kids still. We scoped out a hotel with a water park that might be used as a reward for completing and journaling the list of all 101 Things to Do Outside from National Geographic Kids this summer. Perhaps that’ll be another post some day. If not, you’ll know it didn’t go so well!
God bless ya chums.