Sunday, June 21, 2015

The "F" in Father's Day is for "Fun"!

Last year on Father’s Day I wrote about some of my favorite memories of my father. (If you missed that piece, or if you loved it so much you absolutely have to read it again, click here.) This year I thought I’d write about some of my own experiences as a dad—specifically the fun ones.

In the interest of time (I have 29 minutes to write and post this before I have to wake up my sons) I’m just going to cop out and use the reliable list format.

Legos: When I was a kid I built with Lincoln Logs. I guess Legos were around, but they were very basic back then and not that big of a deal to kids of the 70s. These days Legos have infiltrated our culture to such an extent that you can’t throw a rock in a store without hitting a Lego set, shirt, lunchbox, book, or other paraphernalia. But the point is that I have built a ton of Lego structures with my kids and I won’t lie—it’s a blast playing with those colorful bricks. But whereas I use 30 or 40 bricks to build a basic house, my 8 and 6-year-old sons use thousands of bricks to build elaborate towns, spaceships, and torture chambers. (Sometimes they’re a bit dark.) I’m amazed by what they can build and very proud of their creativity.

Bike Riding: Generally I don’t find exercise fun and try to avoid it at all costs, but I have to admit that the first time I went bike riding with my boys could not have made happier. They just learned how to ride bikes without training wheels back in March, so a few weeks later I bought myself a bike to ride with them. It’s tough to explain how great I felt riding around with the boys, especially because I didn’t learn how to ride a bike myself until I was an adult. (It’s a long story, but basically nobody ever thought to teach me as a kid.)

Creative Play: Every once in a while the kids want to play the whole super heroes versus bad guys thing. You can guess who plays the bad guy. My kids will often put on their old Batman, Spiderman, or Iron Man Halloween costumes and I’ll find random bits and pieces of old costumes and string them together to be the bad guy. There’s nothing more liberating than dressing up as a steampunk pirate wearing a beret, wielding a ball of socks as my secret weapon.

Music: I’m shameless in trying to force my own musical interests on my kids and I’ve been surprised to find that for the most part, it takes! Both the boys enjoy the classic rock I play on the radio when we’re driving around and in particular they are huge Beatles fans. Interestingly, their favorite song is “Nowhere Man,” which they sometimes sing incessantly for hours on end, even though neither can hold a tune. What’s particularly fun is when they make up parody lyrics to the tune of “Nowhere Man.” That’s always a proud papa moment for me.

So those things listed above (plus dozens more I don’t have time to write about) are why I say that the “F” in Father’s Day is for “fun.” Of course, the “A” is for “agonizing,” the “T” is for “tiring,” the “H” is for “heart-wrenching,” the “E” is for “exasperating,” and the “R” is for “rigorous.” But I don’t have time to get into all that right now.