Fatherhood is one of those life-altering nouns.
Of all the things I never expected in life — a million dollars, fat-free Twinkies, Super Bowl champion Detroit Lions — 10 years ago this Sunday, one came true: my own Father's Day card.
For men across America, the third Sunday in June means another necktie for the closet, gadget or gizmo. Most guys think it's the greatest gift in the world — fatherhood.
First celebrated in 1910, Father's Day remains a calendar date to honor dad, daddy, pops or the old man. Honestly, I'm amazed that I retain "No. 1 Dad" coffee mug status; especially since I don't drink the stuff.
My demigod dad days are over. Our 10-year-old daughter already knows I'm all too human. It's just a matter of time before the teenage eye-rolling. She'll ask me to drop her a block from the mall entrance; I'll pull up front and wave in front of her friends.
On one Sunday a year, however, father knows best — or at least everyone pretends.
Father's Day gifts typically fall under the tried-and-true triumvirate: ties, tools and sporting goods. Dads also get soap-on-a-rope, aftershave lotion and other hygiene products. What better way to say, "I love you Dad, you stink."
Just remember, no dad wants to unwrap a box that requires "some assembly" on Father's Day. The only kind of screwdriver that dad should pick up is one served in a highball glass.
As a fervent tool guy, I subscribe to one socket set is never enough. However, the greatest Father's Day gift doesn't come in standard or metric. Fatherhood is a keeper present, even without a lifetime warranty.
I'm a word man. What counts most is a Father's Day card with indelible words written in equally permanent marker. These simple, earnest words to be tucked away in a dresser drawer and in the heart.
I also like pictures, especially oversize cards with cartoon dog dads mowing the lawn or doing some equally impossible biped chore.
When it comes to advice and actions, I've been blessed with several fatherly figures in my life.
- My father taught me right from wrong. I also learned how to drive for hours without stopping — even for directions.
- Grandpa Ira lived firsthand the Midwest farmer sweat-equity ethos; whether baling hay or bailing out a neighbor in need.
- My father-in-law, the man responsible for teaching me the not so fine art of do-it-yourself repair. He also was my seventh-grade science teacher. Given my grades, I'm surprised he intrusted his daughter's hand in marriage.
- Uncle Dick was a banker in blue jeans and cowboy boots. A Boy Scout and 4-H leader, he taught me about integrity and how to start a campfire without a match.
- As a man, I strive to follow these fatherly teachers. As a father, I can only live up to indelible words written alongside a grass-mowing dog.