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What Father’s Day Means to Me

[caption id="attachment_1666" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Daddy and the other guy in my life, back when he was a baby (oh, those thighs!!)"][/caption] I have a handful of happy memories of time spent with my own father when I was a young child. Ice skating on the local lake, all bundled up in a pink scarf and mittens crocheted by my mom. Accompanying my dad to work (before there was such a thing as “Bring Your Child to Work Day”) at I.B.M., back in the days when a mainframe computer took up an entire large room—how I wish I had saved one of the kitschy pictures I printed on those early chain printers (think Mickey Mouse and cute kittens made of Xs and Os). I recall being a flower girl at my aunt’s wedding and taking a photo with my father. Running around in the woods surrounding the softball field where he played on a league (and going home feeling like one huge mosquito bite!). Going to Disney World, riding Space Mountain with him. And, well, those are the biggies. With the exception of just a few more mundane recollections that include my father, my childhood history was written exclusively by my mom. My father left when I was rather young. Father’s Day was barely on my radar until I had my own child. Now I hope to make it as special as I can for my husband. Not only because he is an amazing dad to our son, which he most definitely is. But also so I can create longstanding memories for our family.  

Daddy Does Diapers—and More

[caption id="attachment_1669" align="alignright" width="300" caption="At the Brooklyn Botanic Garden last fall"][/caption] My son is blessed to have a father who is part of the fabric of his life. I hope that his memories of that relationship are rich and varied, ranging from the photo-op moments I recall from my own childhood (that so far, for him, consist of going to Hershey, PA, the Bronx Zoo, Nonna’s house in Florida, and riding the subway to Daddy’s job to surprise him on his birthday) to the mundane moments that—when added together over a lifetime—really cement the love and bond between parent and child. Those everyday things I shared with my mom are what make me smile when I think about her now: being comforted as I cried into her shoulder on my eighth-grade prom night; endless trips over the years to our mutual favorite place, the book store; baking brownies just because there was a chill in the air; reviewing my homework at night… When I watch my two guys do “regular” things together like head out on Sundays to the local bagel place (now a weekly ritual), go through their bath time routine (which includes an exuberant dumping of the water at the end), or enjoy a slice of Brooklyn pizza, I feel disproportionately happy. I am touched (and believe me, I’m not a sap). It’s just that I didn’t have that bond with my father. I didn’t really miss it as a child, at least not consciously (a real testament to my mother). But seeing the bond blossom between my son and his own father feels like a very special gift. This Father’s Day I think the best gift we can all ask for is time spent together, being present. No matter what we do (likely close to home for us, but no doubt we’ll get out and about), it’ll be as a family. Led by our fearless leader, dad—singing the Spiderman song quite out of tune, to the sheer delight of our boy—we can’t go wrong. And now that my chatty two-year-old spilled the beans about the cool Brooklyn Nets hat we got Daddy (just an hour after helping me open the box!) I am on the hunt for another present. Got any last-minute ideas?? Happy Father’s Day to all you engaged, loving, amazing dads out there! And special thanks to the men in my life.  

More Father's Day Fun

Let Dad Be Dad: Don't let Father's Day be the only time you go out of your way to pay special attention to all that your partner brings to the parenting party Search for great family activities all weekend (or stay in and just hang as a family on Sunday, but plan for the rest of the week!)  

Dawn M. Roode


Dawn M. Roode was formerly editorial director of NYMetroParents, where she launched the award-winning semi-annual magazine Special Parent. She was managing editor at Parenting, BabyTalk, Child, Harper's Bazaar, and Latina magazines. She is a strategic content specialist and currently writes and edits parenting, health, travel, and special needs features for various media outlets. Roode is mom to one son and recently relocated from Brooklyn to the suburbs of New York City. Follow her on Twitter @DawnRoode.

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