Here’s the song reference.
First, let me share my customary Father’s Day greeting, to wit:
To all the fathers who hold their children in their arms, to all the fathers who hold their children only in their hearts, to all the fathers-in-waiting, to all the men who have lovingly given of themselves to act as a father to other men’s children, to all those who would give much to be able to call their fathers just one more time – happy Father’s Day. May we remain ever thankful for dads and their love!
We have a few Father’s Day and Mother’s Day customs in our family, most of which revolve around things we do not do. Neither Manie nor I enjoy either pushy crowds or big fusses, so we eschew going out to eat. We always start those days with Mass, to give proper thanks for each other and for the parents and grandparents who trained us up to be the parents we’ve become – and, of course, for the children we hold both in our arms and in our hearts.
Insofar as gifts and other tangible expressions of appreciation go, we also tend towards the nontraditional. Our budget doesn’t allow for expensive presents, and even if it did, we frequently laugh that it’s such a bother to find places to store things, and then to have to clean them, so we’d rather have simple things we can enjoy together. Sometimes that “thing” is a nap, or a movie in the playroom with lots of popcorn, or time spent tooling around the neighborhood on bikes and scooters.
That said, Manie and I love the gifts our tribe makes and selects for us. One of the traditions the midget mob and I have developed over the years is hoarding Walgreens rewards points for Daddy’s birthday and Father’s Day. He loves toys, you see, and none more so than toys that give him the chance to make a little mayhem with the minions. Walgreens in summer is a virtual treasure trove of such delights, and all four of them mark the days until we make those two shopping trips to fill a cart with things that will make Daddy smile and laugh.
Manie was awakened this morning by a small parade of small people bringing him their treasures, their biggest hugs, and their best kisses. Nestled among the bag of beef jerky, the giant package of Cracker Jacks, and a plethora of peanut butter cups, he found a water balloon launcher (Baby Guy does not yet realize his selection is a little more than a giant box of balloons, but it’s going to be a riot when he finds out), a balloon animal kit, and, wonder of wonders, a rubber band rocket. A great deal of the morning, both before and after Mass, was comprised of Daddy laughingly and lovingly crafting a small army of balloon dachshunds. We fully expect to hear these popping the middle of the night, as all four of the small people insisted on taking their inflatable pets to bed with them.
It was the afternoon, however, that brought the great hilarity of the Mega Rocket. You see, some weeks ago, Manie procured one of those little plastic rockets that launches with water. Unfortunately, he managed to land it into one of the roof vents on his third flight, and has been earthbound, from a toy perspective, ever since. When Mr. Man espied the Mega Rocket hanging from its peg in the store, he seized it and crowed, “Mommy! Daddy needs a brand new rocket! It’s a BIG rocket! Daddy can fly this rocket all the way to the moon! I want to get this rocket for Daddy! He will be so happy to have a rocket again!”
As it happened, Daddy was quite happy to have a rocket again, especially when he discovered that its advertised flight of 250 feet was not, in fact, an exaggeration. For hours, our front lawn rang with laughter from father and children, along with several neighbor dads who had to come over to see what was causing such cheerful commotion. One of them beckoned me aside and said, “So, did Manie get anything, you know, good for Father’s Day?”
“Yes,” I replied. “The kids gave him exactly what he wanted – a bag full of toys of his own and his favorite snacks, an afternoon bike ride, and eating anything Daddy wanted to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
Today’s prayer: Lord, thank You for a husband who thanks You for our four little blessings by rejoicing in every opportunity to laugh and play with them. Thank You for Bugaboo, Beanie, Mr. Man, and Baby Guy, and for their six siblings whose faces we will see when we meet You at the end of our days on earth. Thank You for our fathers, for our grandfathers, for our godfathers, and all the other good and Godly men who have loved us throughout our lives and shown us what beauty there is in fatherhood.
Lord, thank You also for simple pleasures. We like a great many of our treasures here, Lord, from guitars to books to computers to pretty clothes, but please help us be mindful that all those things will pass away. Please burn it into our hearts that to loving one another is not measured by the amount of money we spend, but by the love we pour out upon one another, as You poured Yours out upon us.