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One of the most memorable moments I’ve had of my father was on a trip to North Carolina when I was about ten years old to spend time with his side of the family. That summer, my dad let me have my first taste of beer. It was cold and bitter, and it made me wonder why Billy Dee Williams was smiling after drinking a Colt 45 in the posters. It was the nastiest thing had ever tasted but it was the most awesome. The taste was overpowered by the gesture of my dad sharing something with me that would otherwise be exclusively his.

That’s why it sucks that with Father’s Day coming this weekend, hordes of mothers and kids will flock to department stores and raid the khakis and hardware sections for cheap and horrible gifts. Admit it, when it comes to gift-giving days, fathers always get the short end of the stick. Mom gets flowers, poems, jewelry and everything short of a personal parade. Dad gets whatever the workers of the store found sitting in a corner and swept into a pile. I suspect that years ago, a woman whose dad pissed her off was appointed head of Father’s Day. With that power and resource, she decided to punish every father forever.

Thus choices for dad have become: a necktie, screwdriver or a bottle of Old Spice. Honestly, I don’t know of any man in the history of the XY chromosome to have ever truly anticipated a bottle of Old Spice. For generations, it was just what you bought your dad, a white, teardrop-shaped bottle of reassurance that he would never be cool again. Ties are OK, but only if dad has reasons to wear them. Even if that’s the case, Father’s Day ties usually look like they were designed by a drunk pimp. Another gift to avoid is golf gear. Unless you’re familiar with his golfing habits, you’re most likely going to get something he has no use for. What he really wants is something that you have no idea even existed.

As hard as companies try harder to turn Father’s Day into a guaranteed money maker like Mother’s Day, the only thing that most dads want is some quiet time with the family. As in “quiet time” I mean:

  • No referee duties with the kids.
  • The ability to have a snack without a tiny, open hand demanding a piece/some.
  • No asking us about the thing we’re supposed to do but didn’t get to yet.
  • At least an hour of uninterrupted TV or video game time.

The best gift of all, though, is the same thing we get every year, our kids. This year will be my second Father’s Day and I’m not expecting anything extravagant nor do I want it. Liam continues to be the gift that keeps on giving and like a lot of other fathers, it’s the small moments that make a father and child relationship so rewarding. As a tribute to those moments, I’ve pulled together a few videos that show how dads create memories that a kid will never forget even if it’s not sharing a can of malt liquor.

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What Dads Really Want For Father’s Day  was originally published on