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It's Father's Day ... no big deal

Friday, June 15, 2012

As a new dad, I realized something -- nobody really makes a big deal out of Father's Day. But that's just fine with us, we're not sure we deserve a day, anyway.

That's why we're able to laugh off bad gifts, like an ugly tie, a wrench or a half-eaten box of candy.

This is also is why we aren't envious that Mother's Day is an annual production worthy of Broadway. Between the breakfast in bed, candy and flowers and thoughtful gifts, mom practically gets a parade. Dad's day doesn't come close.

We dads don't mind coming in a distant second, playing Oates to her Hall. Mom is always on the ball, and makes sure everyone else is, too. As for Dad, well, his record isn't quite so spotless. He has been known to forget to pick up the milk and the bread (and the kids). He makes rude noises, even in the presence of company. And sometimes he lets children make their own meals, resulting in a dinner featuring ice cream, soda and gummy bears mixed together in a blender.

My own father taught me being laid-back is what being a dad is all about. Not sweating the details is dad's greatest strength and biggest weakness. Forgetting his in-laws' names, wedding anniversaries, or the fact that he was supposed to pick up the kids at soccer practice a half-hour ago often gets dad in trouble. But his ability to rise above the petty details and see the big picture is what makes him so lovable.

Sometimes we put a baby's diaper on backward. We let the kids eat junk food and watch cartoons. If you see a child wandering around the yard wielding a power tool and wearing a Kool-Aid-stained shirt, chances are dad is on duty. Some might take issue with this approach, but if the kids are still breathing at the end of the day, Dad has done his job. Sure, they fell asleep face down in their ice cream while watching "Yo Gabba Gabba," but who cares about details?

Dad represents a refreshing change from Mom, who lives in a constant state of elevated alert akin to the Department of Homeland Security. Because of this, the family needs a relaxed dad for balance and comic relief.

We fathers know we don't do as much as moms, so we don't ask for much. But keep the ties, tools and golf balls. This Sunday, all we want is a little quiet time to relax. But go ahead and leave what's left of Mom's candy.

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James Samons
Street Spirit
James Samons writes about (and studies) the arts and entertainment culture of Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois. Every week he writes on the arts for the Southeast Missourian's SE Live entertainment section.