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Father's Day (Weekend)

For Father's day I decided to go against the norm. No big screen T.V., surround sound, grill, or new toys. Instead I devised a list of things I wanted, actions not purchases. In some ways it was my gift to my wife, to take the pressure off of what she would have to buy me, since I'm so notoriously difficult to buy for. In another way it was to take the pressure off of me. A typical father's day in my household is anything but relaxing.

Typically, I get woken up early because the kids want to share their cards and get me the breakfast they made. Then there's the pressure of "what do you want to do today", which I always feel must be some family activity, because if I said "sleep" or "go play golf" I'm certain I would get the evil eye from at least 4 out of 6 people here. Then there's pressure on choosing the right lunch, the one that I want but everyone else will eat. Then T.V. and dinner and on and on. Then there's stress over gifts, "is it the right one", "did I get the right size", "do you like it", etc.,. So father's day is typically not a relaxing time for me.

To fend it off I made my list. The first premise: stretch the time frame! It was now "Father's Day (Weekend)". No more trying to cram everything into a few short waking hours. The second premise: no gifts! Hand made cards great, but no stressing out about what to buy, there would be no purchases, no clothing, no movies, no games, no electronics. The third premise: effort! I wanted obvious apparent effort from all involved parties.

See what normally happens is we call a day someone's day, be it Father's Day, Mother's Day, Veteran's Day, Birthday, etc., and then we go about filling it with things we'd like to do with that person and not necessarily things they would like to do. An example might be that my children always suggest going to I-Hop on Father's day even after I've made it clear that I don't necessarily care for I-Hop. Likewise with my wife, she constantly asks what I want for Father's Day, Birthday or Christmas. I tell her to take a look at my list on Amazon. I invariably receive something not on my list, because she thought I'd like it, or she wanted it to be more of a surprise. The reality is that there focused on what they want out of the transaction. The kids want I-Hop. My wife wants to see a surprised reaction. It stops being about me and being the selfish narcissistic person I am on Father's Day I needed that to stop.

I made my list a few weeks out. Stressed and strained over it, because on the one hand I felt like I deserved everything I asked for on that list: a clean house, some politeness, some deference, quiet time, some tenderness. At the same time I though that I was asking for too much, since I was asking for things that just don't happen on a regular basis in my household. But at the end of the day I gave it to my wife and was done.

My wife decided we would eat at Lotawata Creek over in Collinsville. We had seen it on T.V. and it sounded great. She also lined up a sitter. Then she lined up a nice little hotel not far from the restaurant. It allowed for a little more leisure time and less rushing back and forth between home and Collinsville. Kat was beautiful when she came to pick me up. Just like I asked on my list, her hair was curled and nails done and she just looked spectacular. I couldn't stop staring.

We dropped out bags off at the hotel, which was a great hotel compared to some of the cheap dives we've stayed in. It was quiet, clean and smelled nice. It also had a full-size refrigerator, microwave, breakfast area, and a comfortable bed. Damn good for 50 something a night. Lotawata was just a few miles down the road and when we got there at 7:30 it was packed with almost an hour wait. Figuring we could get in later with less fuss we decided we'd spend some time at the mall.

It was a little bit of a disappointing experience. Mainly because I rolled over on what I originally wanted. See as beautiful as she was that night she also showed up in jeans and flats when I wanted a dress and heels. Not only that but walking around the mall with her made her more self-conscious about her appearance. So now the nice top that I really liked was too revealing and made her feel awkward and fat. I relented and agreed to help her find another top and so we spent the next hour or so trying on clothes trying to find something that fit both our tastes. We found a nice enough top at Kohl's around 9 o'clock. It was cute but nothing to wright home about. So we went to dinner, but not before having to argue about who was sleeping where with our youngest at home. He always wants to sleep downstairs with the girls.

Dinner was insane and great at the same time. Coming in late meant we didn't have to wait, but it also meant that Kat couldn't get the fried macaroni burger. Instead she settled for a fried pickle burger and I chose a breaded pork sandwich. The food was amazing! It was MASSIVE and was enough that I could cut off just 1/4 of the sandwich and have enough left over for breakfast, lunch and dinner the next day. We had a great time there and Kat really did look beautiful even if I wasn't totally on board with the choice of clothes.

I got to sleep in the next morning, no rush to get up and out. We had breakfast right there with the left overs from Lotawata. We talked and watched Bourne Identity for probably the 100th time. Then we went and drove around, wandered around Best Buy and finally returned home. No pressure, no hurry, nice and relaxed.

And then we actually got home! That's where the list proved to be utterly useless. The kids part of the list was to do some cleaning on the house, mainly the living room and kitchen. The whole place was a disaster and they had every excuse as to why it hadn't been improved upon. Then we ran into problems with our son breaking the rules while we were gone and buying a bunch of junk food from the store with money pilfered from our room and on and on and on. Then I had to work on the air conditioner because it's failing. Suddenly Father's day weekend was immediately and irrevocably OVER! No one, including me, made any effort to get it back on track. Sunday morning came and in came the kids without so much as a "are you awake?" Homemade cards in hand and a breakfast tray. The rest of the day filled with questions about which lunch I wanted and what about dinner and BLEH!!!

So I feel conflicted because on the one side my wife did make an effort to fulfill at least some, if not all of the items on the list. It was a good first effort. On the other hand there were easy things that seemed to be skipped and the whole thing just ceased to exist once the kids were put in the mix. Very, very frustrating and conflicting feelings. I want to praise my wife for her effort but let her know what to do better next time without negating the praise and without making her feel unappreciated for her effort. The kids I just want to beat.

Or do I just suck it up, live with it, understand that this is what life gives you despite your wildest hopes and dreams. Then continue to try to fulfill other people's dreams without my own being fulfilled. The ultimate conundrum; I should be happy with what I got but can't bring myself to do it because of the things I didn't get that were so simple.