It was always a struggle figuring out what to give my dad for Father’s Day (or any holiday, come to think of it!). I would ask him for suggestions, and he would say he already had everything: A loving family, a roof over his head and his health. He said he lived in the best country on earth and had the opportunity to do anything he wanted. He was well-traveled, well-read and he enjoyed the finer and the simpler things in life all at the same time. What more could he want?
So I would make him a card. Maybe write a poem. Then, when I was older, I would give him a good bottle of gin.
After I married and our son was born, I struggled once again with the same gift dilemma: What can our son, Sebastian, give his dad for Father’s Day? Each year I gave him socks and underwear in Sebastian’s name. But I was curious as to what fathers really want as gifts from their children. So I asked my husband, “What was your favorite gift from Sebastian?” Without missing a beat he said, “The sign.”
I didn’t know what he was talking about, but he went into the bedroom and took out this dusty, beat-up, cut-up sign that says, “HAPPY B-Day DAD #1.” I think we were on vacation (his birthday is in August) and had to use some scrap poster board and pack it in the suitcase. This was from years ago, so I was surprised at the neat writing. I have no idea who wrote it (Sebastian probably dictated it), but my husband loves it.
I asked other dads I knew to list their favorite gift from their children and what would they like for Father’s Day. Sure enough, just like that sign, they also loved the home-made gifts or keepsakes from their kids.
But what was on the top of their wish lists? After all these years of trying to figure out what dads really wanted as gifts, the answer seemed so simple. Over and over, they said they wanted to just spend time with their families.
One dad wished for a family day at the beach. Another wanted a simple trip to the movies with his kids, complete with unlimited popcorn and soda. Another wanted to hang out with his family for the day with no errands to run or to-do list hanging over his head.
This year, I think the best Father’s Day gift my son and I can give my husband is to clear the calendar, relax and enjoy the time together. And maybe I’ll have Sebastian make him a new #1 DAD sign to top things off!
I hope you and your family can work in some quality time together celebrating the dads in your lives as well. If you’re looking for some ideas of where to take dad on his special day, check out our 10 Father’s Day outings on p. 46.
From all of us at Washington FAMILY Magazine, Happy Father’s Day!
Washington FAMILY Magazine