by Eric Gardner, Guest Contributor
As a military spouse, a dad, veteran, and stay-at-home provider, I find Father’s Day to be a wonderful time to take a breath and marvel at how fantastic my kids are.
My wife and I are blessed with 2 beautiful girls. While we have been with the Army for over 18 years our bundles of joy are only 10 and 7 years old. Which means I am still entrenched in the Father’s Day ritual of a unique breakfast in bed and fun activities on this illustrious day.
I’m a bit older now so I’m sure it will involve some sort of bran muffin or cereal as a joke (thanks babe). But there will be coffee and smiling faces so it will be terrific.
After breakfast we go to the main event; the presenting of a gift bag with wonderfully colored tissue paper exploding from the top. Inside, crafted by little fingers would be a homemade wonder. I know these priceless keepsakes will not keep coming forever so in this world dominated by gadgets and gizmos my idea of what makes a great gift has changed.
As I looked back at all of our Father’s Day events, my best memories always involve an adventure where we did something fun together. Of course the ones that really stick out in my mind are the completely guy-focused activities (remember I’m totally outnumbered).
In the spirit of helping my fellow male spouses get the most out of this fantastic day I thought I’d share my top 5 gift ideas for the best Father’s Day experience. Spoiler alert, there aren’t any neckties involved.
5. The Bass Pro Shop/Cabala’s shopping experience. If you’ve never been to one of these giant men magnets on Father’s Day I highly recommend it. We went one year and my lovely wife made the comment “you can get anything you want.” Before I could sprint through the door however she followed up by saying “within reason.”
Those of you who have been to these wonderful showrooms know, very little is “within reason.” However they had an outdoor archery range, BB gun/air rifle firing range, fishing at the store pond and tons more for families to do.
I didn’t walk away with anything in a shopping bag but I had a grin from ear to ear because both my girls were so enthralled with every single activity, and talked about it for weeks to come.
4. Sharing a hobby. The world of a stay-at-home provider typically translates to jack-of-all-trades. Military spouses tend to learn how to do it all very quickly. Loads of fun right? Yet I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy working in the garage on a project (or 12) or sneaking away to write a few chapters in a new book.
While these solitary moments are fleeting, I find that my daughters being interested and wanting to build, craft or write something with me is infinitely more enjoyable.
3. Water balloon/water gun ambush. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good water fight? We’re all kids at heart, and I think Father’s Day being in June is a completely justifiable reason for this awesome home-styled adventure.
2. Dad T.V. time with a catch. As I said above I live in a house with 3 females. I’ve seen my fair share of “Drop Dead Diva” episodes, “Gilmore Girls” seasons, and “Legally Blonde” marathons.
The life of a stay-at-home dad is not T.V. and beer all day (much to my chagrin).
So this one festive day is a 24-hour gift of 80s action movies, edited for T.V. horror movies or a “Star Wars” marathon (you’ve got to remember my kids are 10 and 7) What makes this special is that everyone is there to share in the awesome one-liners, outrageous action sequences and impossible plot twists that everyone ignores.
1. A chance to soak it all in. Life happens way too fast. The military culture can force our family time into fleeting snapshots due to busy schedules. Here is a perfect day to slow the train down, maybe even get off for a minute. You only get to go around once.
If you have been blessed with children let them share in every minute of every day, but on Father’s Day take a few more moments to make it more memorable.
Do you have any great gift ideas for Father’s Day? Share them in the comments section.
Eric Gardner was raised in a military family and lived around the world. Following in his father’s footsteps, he joined the U.S. Army as an Infantry Officer. Since the end of his wartime service he has shifted gears and is now a stay-at-home father. In his role as an active duty Army spouse, he has become an author. As the creator of the XIII Legion Series he has enjoyed great success, and enjoys meeting other entrepreneurial spouses as well as fellow authors . You can see more from Eric Gardner at his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/thirteenthlegion.series, and http://www.facebook.com/XIIILGN or follow him via Twitter @13thLegion.