Making The Most Of Father’s Day

With Father’s Day soon upon us, it got me thinking about what it all means. Of course, Target believes that all of us dads play golf and go fishing. Macy’s believes that all of us dads wear ties to work every day. And Hallmark believes that we only care about beer, the remote control…and golf and fishing.

In this social media age, it’s also when dads are called out and celebrated on Facebook. Sometimes those dads don’t even have a Facebook account but someone really really wants to tell the world anyway. There are also plenty of people who aren’t able to be with their fathers for one reason or another. Maybe it’s distance, maybe it’s estrangement or maybe it’s a military deployment. There are those with more than one dad and those with none. Some people have father figures – maybe a grandfather, maybe an uncle, or maybe a family friend. And then there are the people among us who have lost their dads – those who would do just about anything to spend one more day together.

I’m a divorced dad, so I only get half the time and half the memories. My job is to make the most of the time I do have, keep them safe, and make sure they’re happy kids. When you’re a divorced dad and it’s Father’s Day, it’s your job to plan the day because no one will do it for you. So I’ll pick them up and take them for pancakes. We all love pancakes. And then we’ll go to Target Field to watch the Twins try to beat the Indians. This dad doesn’t play golf or fish but he sure loves a summer afternoon at the ballpark. We’ll eat hot dogs and ice cream and stand for the National Anthem. We’ll watch the game and cheer for Sano to hit a moon shot and maybe get a root beer float. It’s Father’s Day after all.

Inning after inning, I’ll sneak peaks at my two little people to make sure they’re smiling and laughing and having fun. I’ll probably try to explain an obscure play like the infield fly or the suicide squeeze and we’ll check the Yankees score out in right field. Maybe we’ll go to the store (one thing only!) but we’ll definitely get up and stretch in the 7th.

At some point, we’ll call my dad together and wish him a happy day. He’s 1,100 miles away and I’ll wish he was closer so I could give him a big hug. But I’ll count my lucky stars as they say because I still can while so many others cannot.

And then when it’s all over, I’ll drop them off and head home, but along the way, I’ll smile because we had such a great day.  I’ll smile because they’re happy and if they’re happy, I’m happy. I’ll smile because I know I’m doing a good job even though it’s never easy and at times, really hard.

And I’ll treasure this day because I know they’re not unlimited.

To all of the great dads out there – enjoy your tie or your golf club or your homemade card. If someone is making pancakes for you, eat slowly and enjoy every bite. Use a little extra syrup too – it’s Father’s Day, damn it. If you live far away from your dad, don’t forget to call. And if your dad is gone, do something he would have liked to do. He’s watching you know.

Happy Father’s Day – may you get all of the hugs.

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About Jeff Mandell

Jeff Mandell was born and raised in Queens, NY - spitting distance from a deli, two bagel shops, and 47 Chinese take-out joints. When not chasing after his two adorable kids, Jeff spends a lot of time at Target Field and rationing the bagels he schleps back from New York. He was the go-to-Jew at a local production company that produced the hit show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. These days he searches the globe for things both bizarre and delicious - always asking if they ship.

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