Six-packs of business socks were on special a few days ago at Aldi. If they weren’t one short of a week’s worth, I might have racked them up at the till. In my momentary contemplation of snappy-coloured toe and heel, a fellow shopper spontaneously announced a thought to me – “Perfect for Father’s Day!”

She tossed the socks into her bag and trollied off, seemingly content that her Father’s Day obligation was sorted. I imagine there is a dad out there who is rehearsing his feigned smile of delight on being gifted his annual ‘perfect’ present that honours his goodness.

When I hear ‘perfect’, my oftentimes zany thoughts steer to being passionately literal. A voice blurted in my head, “Perfect? PERFECT? Socks are PERFECT for Father’s Day?”

My brain accelerated into thinking mode. As a much-practised single dad, I was ready to make the argument on behalf of the negative team that socks, most definitely, are NOT PERFECT FOR FATHER’S DAY.

Not Quite Right

Presuming a “thanks, Dad” needs to be expressed with a gift, what is the message in socks? No one but Dad should be the arbiter on how well-worn socks have to be before they are tossed out. Only the wisdom of the ages, passed through generations of dads, will comprehend the logic of mismatched socks. We – dads – are keepers of the sock rituals, and gifting us with socks is always received with offence because we hear that we cannot be trusted to manage the domain of our sock drawer.

The Father’s Day marketing spiel of “buy, buy, buy” is a nasty rash on my chipper contemplation that dads, mostly, are amazing people. I am a mentor, psychologist, taxi driver, school lunch maker, banker, baker, chef, mediator, homework coach, clothes purchaser. And, with charm and dad jokes to boot! All those skills jammed into one job ad is not likely to attract a single applicant. Yet, we dads resiliently press ahead to the best of our parenting ability. Saying thanks for our vast talents with socks is to say, “Dad, you are a long way off Best On Ground… have an Encouragement Award instead.”

Something More

If you need to give a gift that says, “You are the bestest Dad ever,” then say the words, “Dad, I love you, and I am so delighted and proud that I have a dad who helped with my homework or cooked a cracking meal for my friends and me, or bailed me from the party when I didn’t feel safe, or talked to me about girl stuff, or kept loving me when I upset you.” I know that those socks are pure merino wool from sheep hand-raised on organic rye, but they will always wear out before the gift of affirming words.

Handmade gifts and cards gazump socks every time. Alongside my bed is a wooden cut-out car on a timber base, handcrafted by Miss 8. “Happy Father’s Day 2015” has been burnt into the timber. It’s for sale… for $67,955,404. She handed it over with a hug that has left an imprint. I haven’t yet slipped into socks that stirred tears of pride or pumped my heart like an “I love you” from my daughters.

Quality Time

This week, I had to leave home early to help with a Father’s Day breakfast at my daughter’s school. I delivered the news the night before with the offer that they could walk in a little later to join me for the feed. Instead, they both bounced out of bed, raced through their chores and insisted on leaving early with me to help out too. Wanting to be with Dad is a perfect gift. By contrast, running to a tight deadline is when matching socks don’t show up. One sock might, but its partner sock is likely hiding out in the boot of the car. That’s what socks do!

To all the dads, especially those pining for time with their kids, I wish you a sock-free Father’s Day. Better still, may your day be filled with great affirmations from your kids of your profound goodness. I know that I will receive an amazing gift… my Miss 8 excitedly tried to jump the gun with something handmade from school. My great gift is being able to share time with my daughters, to say as many thanks as I receive. That, and not ever needing to make a fake smile for receiving socks.


Photo by cottonbro studio.

About the Author: Greg McInerney

Greg is the father of two daughters.

Leave A Comment