The following was originally published in “The Good Life Men’s Magazine” (and was also written months ago…)
I hope I’m not the only one who doesn’t recall Father’s Day having much of an impact on my childhood. It’s hard as a kid to get excited about someone else’s special day, watch them open presents that aren’t toys to play with and sit through three meals of not-your-favorite foods. Honestly, I still don’t get all that excited for a made up holiday. There, I said it.
From my usual glass-is-half-empty perspective, Father’s Day is more or less a trap for us fathers. We’re told it’s our day to spend however we wish, all while being showered with presents and praise seemingly for the previous year’s job well done.
Trap, I say! What I really want, if I’m being honest, is to lay in bed for a while, go golfing, take a couch nap, grill a steak for dinner and watch something R-rated in the recliner… none of which involves my offspring. If the premise of the day is me being a good father, how can I ask for what is essentially a day off from parenting and not suffer from an above average amount of guilt?
But this year is different. Much different.
As I sit writing this column in my home office — now just “the office” — it’s late March. We’re still on the uphill climb of the much talked about COVID-19 pandemic curve. The whole family has now been self-isolating at home for three weeks, the first of which was marked by a visit to the ER… the last by a basement flooded with groundwater. It’s been a month, and I’m not sure the end is yet in sight.
Not to sound trite, but everything is different now thanks to this tiny, powerful virus. Things may circle back to normalcy, but even so the memories of this period will last our lifetimes and that normalcy may still feel different.
In early March, before the full weight of the situation had come crushing down, I posted this on Twitter: “On the upside, the older you get the fewer milestones your memory has the opportunity to capture. This moment in time is rich in emotion. Moments slow, suddenly important. This is a milestone. This… is going to be a most unique memory.”
Not everyone agreed with me at the time, but I think we’re all convinced at this point, our psyches permanently altered. What I can confidently say is this Father’s Day will be one to remember, unlike the bulk of the previous 37. And what I truly hope is that it is memorable for unremarkable reasons.
I want to take a walk through the neighborhood without awkwardly avoiding passersby on the bike path. I want to let Mack play on the playground without worry. I want to go to Costco… with the whole family… unmasked. I know, not the wishlist I started this story with, but a wishlist — altered — for the times we’re living in. Of course, baby number two could arrive early and completely steal the show. Oh, what a wonderful diversion that would be… and a perfect excuse for a guilt-free nap!