Friday, 17 June 2016

The day for Dad

Around about this time of year the shops are filled with cards and signs and gifts in anticipation of Father's Day - (Sunday 19th June this year btw in case you haven't been paying attention), and it got me wondering how this works in other families.

Since the kids were teeny they've proudly presented Mr with cards covered in painty handprints and lopsided glittery clay tealight holders (or versions of) each year - made at toddler group, or nursery, or brownies, or Mencap junior club, or school.  As the years went by the cards evolved from messy glittery lead by a grown up ones into construct (independantly) by numbers affairs, with pre cut shapes and 'here's one I made earlier' examples.  After that they became a little more personal, with carefully thought out messages inside and instead of being wobbly addressed Dear Daddy it became a more solemn To Dad, and now they're all in secondary school it's only Smiler who brings one home at all - Petal and Noah tend to hole up in the kitchen for an hour or so together, sat up to the table surrounded with different colour pens, them emerge grinning while trying desperately to look cool and casual with a card behind each of their backs.  Because of the different personality types Mr seems to get the same constellation each year - a painty handprint one from Smiler, an ernest message inside an 'I had a good idea but lost interest halfway through so only coloured in half the letters' type card from Noah, and a detailed desperately trying to please I love you so so so much one from Petal.

The accompanying gifts - well, the tangible teabag stapled inside a teapot shape card type naturally dropped off several years ago, and as a family we then gravitated towards 'I'll make you a cup of tea' or 'we'll do the washing up' or 'we'll make dinner' type rather than 'here's a huge teddy bear with a t-shirt that says I love my dad on'.

It's the same for Mother's Day to be fair, so I don't think it's just me being stingy and not wanting the kids to spend money on crap (although that definitely is a part of it), as Mr has led them to do similar - last year (back when we had an oven) Petal baked a batch of cupcakes completely by herself, and helped Smiler to help her ice them.  Those cupcakes, for all the messy icing and sticky cases and dry insides were absolutely perfect, and what felt like the best bit for me was the pride beaming from her face as she told me she'd looked up the recipe herself, and that the only thing Mr had done was get the mixer down from the shelf.  I know he felt the same when she made him biscuits last year, and when Smiler presented him with the bean he'd grown in a pot.

I get that others show their love by spending at the shops, but I'm glad that we have evolved our family traditions differently.  I'd rather all three of my kids use their own words to tell their dad how much he means to them, rather than relying on a printed rhyming message in a card picked up in a supermarket.  I'm glad that they want to fuss over him and sit with him and walk the dog with him instead of giving him a 'best dad' mug and then going off to do their own thing.  Of course it needn't be all or nothing, but I know too many mums and dads who get precious little meaningful interaction from their offspring to be blasé about mine still (usually!) wanting a kiss goodnight.

So, for Father's Day this year Mr will be getting a lie in - which I imagine will be greatly appreciated as he is at a friend's stag do all day on Saturday; breakfast made for him by the kids - most likely coffee and cereal or toast as we're still without an oven; and then his choice of activities for the day, which will probably consist of trying to find a film that everyone will watch and taking Eli for a nice long walk.  So long as there's plenty of hugs to go around, he'll be happy.

How about you?  Any plans for the day or memories of days long gone?

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