I would love to say that my kids are finely tuned Father’s Day instruments honed to always make the perfect choice.
Imagine them as well-trained, hawkish, retail warriors, who, with pinpoint accuracy hit their gift-for-dad target with the prowess of a sharp shooter.
We don’t live in a perfect “man cave” world, so, I’d be lying to even suggest it.
As much as I love their decision making, my kids are not the savviest of shoppers. Yet. The Perfect Father’s Day Gift
Suffice to say, nailing the perfect Father’s Day gift is a work in progress.
To their credit they have nailed the “no socks and undies” rule.
Not that I’m undermining the importance of underwear or the necessity of new jocks and socks.
It’s better to have the accessories to accessorise with, than have none at all. Giving or Getting?
Father’s Day isn’t about me getting what I want.
It’s about giving kids what they need.
21 years of dad-life “bliss” have taught me that the rough edges matter just as much as the smooth. The rough more so.
A coffee mug, broken and filled with pens, reminds me that some of the best gifts our kids give to us dads are the lessons that they teach us.
The mug, a Father’s Day gift from my eldest daughter when she was about 10, has been shattered twice.
Written on each side, and sliced through by cracks and glue, are the words,
“ Dad, I think you’re the best. ”
The first breakage was my fault. “Hey, I Bought You That”
In response to a hostile work-related problem, I threw it hard towards the kitchen floor.
A little angry, and somewhat upset, my 10-year-old came up to me, and quietly said, “Hey, I bought you that.”
Her words ran through me like a cold chill.
I was never angry at her. Neither did I hate the gift.
Nevertheless, in a moment of anger, I had broken it.
It’s an event burnt into my memory.
She saw it broken. I had to make it right.
In order to mend unseen wounds, instead of throwing the mug away, I insisted on keeping it. I Can Always Do Better
Even when the same mug broke in an accident, I was determined to fix it.
Not because I wanted a sadistic tool to torment myself or my daughter, but because the value of this Father’s Day gift had become priceless.
This shattered, unusable hunk of porcelain teaches me 24/7-365 days a year that I can always do better.
Its broken value rests in the never-failing, ironic words “ Dad, I think you’re the best. ”
Pieced together, this mended mug reminds me of my daughter.
It reminds me of my limitations and flaws, and of an unconditional love that makes room for repaired mistakes.
My mended mistake may not look like much.
Despite no longer being able to hold coffee, it holds a precious lesson perfectly.
What Father’s Day Means
This mess, sliced through by cracks and glue, is a reminder of what Father’s Day means.
It’s a Father’s Day gift that reigns supreme; teaching me some of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn as a father.
Our kids will either scratch their heads and think about what’s been done for them, or they’ll sit bitterly stewing over what’s been done to them.
My kids may not be the best Dad’s Day shoppers, but they often hit the mark, even if I fail to see how.
It’s a savvy dad who can appreciate the cracks and glue. One who can pick up the pieces of his own mistakes, then own them.
Not as a whip for beating oneself senseless with self-hatred, but as an instrument of personal growth, born out of love, for, by, with and towards his family.
Image by Misha Voguel on