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this one’s for dad

June 13, 2013

dadFor the past several years, The Man has taken The Kids camping for Father’s Day. Some time ago, he asked if I minded.

“Hey Babe? Is it ok if I take The Kids camping on Father’s Day weekend?”

“Um. As far as I’m concerned, you can take them camping every single weekend. Seriously.” I mean, even if they want to go on Christmas, we can work something out. I was shocked he even asked. We don’t typically ask permission for things like this, and it seemed like a no-brainer. It’s not that I don’t like camping. I grew up going camping and hiking, and while I like it just fine,
I don’t mind a weekend to myself, either.

I love the Father’s Day tradition they’ve started. Several dads, who have kids of similar ages, pack up the truck for a little car camping in North Carolina. For those who aren’t well versed in camping lingo, this doesn’t mean they sleep in the car, but they can pretty much bring as much stuff as they want, because the car will be right nearby. There are bathroom facilities. For experienced outdoorsmen, this is called candy-ass camping (CAC).

I’m not making fun. I prefer CAC myself, and it’s probably the best plan for a large group with limited resources and time. Besides, I doubt the dads are interested in carrying their large coolers of beer deep in the woods. They’re already lugging all the kids’ crap and setting up camp. Car nearby=cooler nearby.

When my people leave, I am left with two choices. I can stay home and enjoy a quiet weekend in my house. It’s an incredibly attractive option. Once you have kids, time alone in your home is a luxury. I make lists of things I swear I’ll do, but I usually just savor the peace.

Although that sounds great, I often end up going out of town. Last year, I packed up for Colleen and Andy’s Mexican wedding. This year, I’m spending Father’s Day with my dad.

He lives in Chicago. Y’all might say this makes it an easy choice, right? Well, yeah, it does. We are going to see Book of Mormon, we have tickets to a late night Second City show, and I’m sure we’ll eat and drink pretty well. He likes wine. He lives on the lake, so we’ll probably walk along the beach. We both like good coffee and morning crossword puzzles.

I’ll tell you why it’s going to be a great weekend, though. I like my dad. Sure most people love their dads, but I like hanging out with mine. We talk on the phone several times per week. I’m sure I call him too much sometimes, but he rarely says he doesn’t have time to chat.

He took me to Paris for my sixteenth birthday. I knew how to speak French but was intimidated by the natives. I told him what to say. We only fought once. I stand my ground. I knew the best way to get there. We did need a map. I actually read it. I wish I’d been old enough to have wine with him. We’ll just have to go back. Hint, hint.

When it came to my wedding, he didn’t ask many questions. He wanted the reception to be a huge party with great music. I think his only request had to do with the bar. Top shelf only. My friends are still thanking him for it. When our band cancelled a mere six weeks before the wedding, he didn’t panic. He found someone but warned me that our planned father/daughter dance song might be too difficult for the new group. I was a bit disappointed, but it didn’t last long. Little did I know he asked the band to sing it anyway, and they did. “I Could’ve Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady, one of our favorite musicals, was our song. Everyone else probably thought it was weird. We didn’t care.

We have a bad (but fun) habit of thinking we’re funnier than we really are. If we pick on you, know it means we love you. If you ask us to pass the ketchup, and we start passing it around the table, making sure it gets to everyone BUT you, expect “You didn’t ask us to pass it to YOU.” We always think we have the next idea for Saturday Night Live. I’m sure we don’t.

Many years ago, I knew I’d found my husband when I woke up and found The Man and my dad talking over coffee. Dad always liked my boyfriends just fine, but now they had things in common. I won’t let it bother me that one interest they share is those nasty five finger toe shoes.

While I hate to miss a great weekend with The Man and Kids, I’ll gladly trade it for a weekend with Dad. He’ll probably be rather embarrassed by the sentimental nature of this week’s column. Hell, who am I kidding? Almost 500 hundred words about him? He’ll love it. And I love him. Happy Father’s Day, Dad! Cheers!

Originally published in the Metro Spirit in Augusta, Georgia

One Comment leave one →
  1. Alice permalink
    June 13, 2013 10:49 pm

    Precious, Jenny. Your dad will be so proud to read this sweet article!

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