One June evening a few years ago, as I looked over our calendar at upcoming activities, I wondered why the third Sunday was circled in red. Then I remembered with dismayit's Father's Day! Since the birth of our son, Luke, three years before, I was perennially stumped on how to make this day as special for my husband, Roger, as he makes Mother's Day for me. After all, how do you buy a gift for a guy who insists he's satisfied with a card and a tie?
It's taken me years, but I've finally discovered 8 great ways to put that card/tie routine to shame.
1 Kidnap him from work and play hooky. When our son, Luke, was born, Roger attended school and worked full-time. We rarely got to see him. So the Friday before his first Father's Day, Luke and I kidnapped him from work. The surprise on his face when I announced his boss had given him the rest of the day off was priceless!
If your budget's limited, plan a low-cost outing: Go to an amusement park, or pack a picnic lunch.
2 Hand him cash to spend that he didn't earn. One Father's Day, my parents gave my husband a gift certificate to his favorite store. Roger immediately went out and loaded up on jeans! He'd needed some work pants for months, but had put off that purchase in favor of our family's needs. When I saw Roger's delight at being able to get through a whole week without rotating his jeans, I realized how many of his sacrifices went unnoticed.
I make a small income that usually goes straight into the bank, but on Father's Day, I make an exception. Spending someone else's money is always more fun than spending your own!
3 Send him to a men's retreat. Jamie set aside a weekend for her husband, Scott, to go to their church's upcoming men's retreat. "I look at it as an investment in his relationship with Christ," she says. When Scott returned refreshed and renewed, their whole family benefited.
4 Surprise him with a sparkling clean car and an oil change. My husband does all our automobile maintenance, so when I take our car in for an oil change or an unexpected car wash, he's thrilled and relieved. Getting into a clean car to go to work is always better than putting up with a filthy one!
5 Give him a day alone to do what he wants. Like most men, my husband tends to pursue his hobbies alone. He loves to tinker in the garage, disappear for a morning to fish, or lie prone on the couch for hours watching football. But those times are few and far between, because each Saturday I present him with a "honey-do" list of projects.
Once I realized how little free time Roger actually had, Father's Day seemed the perfect time to remedy that. I give him an entire day to do what he wants. It's my way of saying, Go ahead and take off. I promise not to resent the time away. I'll hold down the fort until you get back.
6 Save up for that expensive gift he wants. One family I know encourages their kids to pool their money in the months between Christmas and Father's Day. When Mom matches their funds, it's possible for the kids to surprise Dad with that gift they know he's wanted for years.
My husband longs for an expensive tool for his workshop. I can't wait to see the look in Roger's eyes when I eventually buy it for him!
7 Let him plan an evening outon you! Admit it, we wives do the planning when it comes to a night on the town. We want the nice restaurant followed by a romantic play or movie.
Roger's always acceded gracefully to my expectations, so I decided one night would be his. So what if we ate at an all-you-could-eat barbecue, then went fishing? He enjoyed himselfand I enjoyed watching him.
8 Surprise him with an evening in. My friend Patricia is the mother of four children, all spaced close together in age. It's not surprising her energies are sapped by the end of the day, and her husband, Marc, gets the short end of the stick. When she asked him one year what he wanted for Father's Day, his answer was simple: "You." That Sunday night, Marc had a meeting at church and Patricia took that time to prepare. The kids were in bed, the lights were low, and Patricia was waiting for him in a negligee.
"It's easy to get caught up in parenting," said Patricia. "But I didn't want either of us to forget what fun we had becoming parents!"
There are as many ways to celebrate Father's Day as there are men who are fathers. The guy you married is your friend, your lover, your provider, your partner in parenting the bundle(s) of joy God's given you both. The time you spend planning any event in his honor is well worth the effort. And who knows? You may just top Mother's Day!
Melodie Wright, a freelance writer, lives with her family in Minnesota.
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