What Dads Want for Father’s Day


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Photo by Tuzemka/Shutterstock

At the church service on Mother’s Day, the pastor turned around from the altar and smiled. He looked out into the congregation and welcomed the parishioners. 

“The church on Mother’s Day is always extra crowded, whereas come Father’s Day, the church is half full. This is because mothers say, ‘Oh, I want to go to church with my family.’ However, when Father’s Day rolls around, dads want to go fishing.” Everyone laughed, including me, even though I don’t fish.

My 12-year-old daughter, Jessie, turns 13 in a few months. How is it possible for this to be my last Father’s Day with a tween daughter? How in the world did the baby I rocked in my arms in our blue La-Z-Boy grow taller than her mother? 

As I ponder the changes past and the changes yet to come, I gave thought to what dads want. Father’s Day is right around the corner. Is it time for me to take up fishing? 

I’m not just any dad. I had a successful 20-year career in banking, accounting and auditing. I remember the breadwinner stresses — going to work before sunrise, drinking too much coffee and soda, sleeping way too few hours. Heck, one time I dressed in the dark, trying not to wake up my wife, and ended up at a one-day conference wearing one black shoe and one brown shoe.

Then, after almost 20 years of marriage, at the youthful age of 44, I became a father. Goodbye suits, ties and brief case. Hello, apron, vacuum cleaner and dust cloth. Instead of conversing with colleagues at the water cooler, my communication took place with a baby and my friend, Shout, in the laundry room. So, who better to pull together a list of what dads want for Father’s Day than someone who has been on both sides of the fence — the hard-working breadwinner and the 24/7 stay-at-home parent who’s gone through the baby, toddler, little girl and tween years? This is not going to be the normal list of gifts, like a snazzy tie or cotton socks.

But before I list the five items that made the final cut, here were a few contenders, especially pertinent to the older tween, and my guess, teenagers.

  • To see Jessie’s furniture in her bedroom. At least, I think there’s still furniture underneath the clutter in her room.
  • To regain control of the car radio station for the day. Somehow, Jessie has appointed herself “Dictator of the Radio.” This is not a good thing and the situation is magnified by Jessie’s choice of music. I miss Barry Manilow and Air Supply.
  • To get a good deal on a cellendectomy. I pray never to lose my daughter, but if she would get lost in a crowd, or the clutter in her room, I only need to call her cell phone.

OK, all joking aside, here’s my top five list of gifts that dads would enjoy on Father’s Day. A 55-inch flat screen television! Nah, I don’t want to start my list with a big, tangible, impersonal item. Let’s start over. 

  • The gift of food. For my birthday and special occasions, Jessie and my wife make me a Jell-O cake with the most delicious of frostings, a mixture of powdered sugar and Cool Whip. Please note that Dad shouldn’t have to help clean the kitchen if a flour, sugar and egg slime tornado hits.
  • The gift of peace. Let’s face it, whether dad works from home or his job takes him outside the house, fathers deserve (and need) a little peace and quiet. Some fathers might find it out on a lake holding a fishing rod, while others rejuvenate in a church pew during a Sunday morning service. And then there are some fathers who simply enjoy kicking back on the sofa in front of their new 55-inch flat screen TV. A quiet block of time for a nap fits nicely here, too.
  • The gift of time. We are all faced with limited time, our most precious resource. I think everyone struggles with how they balance their time between family, work and other commitments. I miss the days when Jessie and I colored together, did puzzles and had picnics any place a blanket could be tossed. I’d turn off a 55-inch TV to have her squeeze into the La-Z-Boy with me to read her books like I used to. Fellow men, don’t think less of me, but I miss reading Fancy Nancy.
  • The gift of love. We all need love. Dads enjoy when their efforts and the sacrifices they make for their family are appreciated. “Thank you” means a lot. Communicating respect and words that reflect love and admiration go a long way.
  • The gift already delivered. My best gift was already delivered ... and not from Amazon. No gift, not even a 55-inch flat screen TV, will provide this dad with greater joy than the one I unwrapped to change a dirty diaper almost 13 years ago. That gift makes me want to work harder and to be not just a good role model for her, but also a better man and husband. 

My family doesn’t watch a lot of TV, but we catch a few select shows and I like my college football. Jessie, the dancer in the family, jumps off the sofa and performs impromptu dances during Dancing with the Stars. Her dances fill my heart with joy and my eyes with moisture. Jessie is happy and healthy. She sings and dances. Her self-esteem is high. Isn’t that what all dads want for their children? Even more than going fishing or a new 55-inch TV.

 

Patrick Hempfing is a former CPA turned stay-at-home dad who writes the self-syndicated column, “MoMENts,” about the joys and challenges of parenthood. He closes each column with the reminder to cherish the moments. His book, MoMENts: A Dad Holds On, is a compilation of his tender, humorous columns and new material. Learn more at patrickhempfing.com.

 

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Calendar

June 2017

Rev it up with high horsepower fun on Father's Day at Marbles with rubberband cars, Build It Jam and other four-wheel fun.

Cost: $5 ages 1 and older

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
Website »

More information

Learn to fish the old-fashioned way. Supplies and instruction provided. Ages 5 and older with adult. Advance registration required online.

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about carry positions, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to crawl,...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
Website »

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On Father's Day, enjoy a gathering of dozens of the Triangle’s most popular food trucks, live music and more. Take a chair.

Cost: Free

Where:
Durham Central Park
501 Foster St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Website »

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To celebrate this important national holiday, the Nasher Museum welcomes all dads to enjoy free admission all day. Consider a celebratory brunch in the Nasher Museum Café.

Cost: $5 adults. Free for ages 15 and younger

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
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Website »

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Join Museum astronomer Rachel Smith to learn about the physics behind eclipses, the exciting science made possible by such events, and how you can be part of the 2017 solar eclipse taking place...

Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences
11 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Website »

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Use clues and observational skills to identify a strange artifact. All ages. Children must have adult accompaniment. Drop-in program; registration is not required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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Museum astronomer Patrick Treuthardt highlights some of the common and uncommon events produced by the sun.

Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences
11 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Website »

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Step back in time with a 19th-century costumed interpreter and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Registration encouraged online. Tickets available at the mill. ...

Cost: $5/adult, $3 ages 7-16. Free for ages 6 and younger

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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Discover the rich history of Harris Lake County Park. Take a walk through time to learn how people historically used and shaped the land in the park. Ages 8 and older. Advance registration...

Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
, NC  27562
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

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Celebrate Father's Day with games and refreshments. All ages with parent. Advance registration required online. 

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Crowder District Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Go nutty for nature as children satisfy some of their curiosity about the world around them and parents share in the joy of discovery. Ages 3-5 with parent. Register online.

Cost: $12/resident, $16/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

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Create a painting using fresh produce as stamps. All ages with adult. Registration is not required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder District Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

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Learn about the summer solstice and make a sun catcher to hang in a window. All ages. Drop-in program; registration is not required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Ages 18 mos-5 years and caregiver learn, explore and play outdoors, while doing a fun nature-based activity. Register online. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Forest Hills Park
1639 University Dr.
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


Sponsor: Tinkergarten
Telephone: 919-806-7502
Contact Name: Kate Macartney
Website »

More information

Families enjoy a beginning Zumba class. Call to RSVP.

Cost: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Ct.
Knightdale, NC  27545
View map »


Telephone: 919-217-5318
Website »

More information

Ages 5-12 learn about healthy fruits and vegetables, kitchen and food safety, and enjoy a healthy snack. Meet in the bakery side of the cafe. Email sherry.thrasher@wholefoods.com to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Whole Foods North Raleigh
8710 Six Forks Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27615
View map »


Telephone: 919-354-0350
Contact Name: Sherry Thrasher

More information

Children with special needs enjoy the great outdoors and activities that incorporate teamwork and bolster confidence. Participants must be able to communicate and move independently over uneven...

Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

Where:
Bond Park
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC  27513
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Website »

More information

Show More...
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Learn about the summer solstice and make a sun catcher to hang in a window. All ages. Drop-in program; registration is not required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Ages 3-6 enjoy fun games and drills. Call to RSVP.  

Cost: $5/child

Where:
Fitness4Life
6701 Glenwood Ave.
Suite 103
Raleigh, NC  27612
View map »


Sponsor: Fitness4Life
Telephone: 919-787-2250
Contact Name: George Whitten
Website »

More information

Learn about different frogs and toads that live in our area and what they sound like. Make frog sounds, look for live toads and make a craft. Ages 3-5 with an accompanying adult. Register...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson Nature Preserve
Website »

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Learn fascinating facts about butterflies and moths. Ages 6-13. Meets at the Beech Shelter. Registration required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Parkway
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Explore the astronomical aspects of a Midsummer's Day, hear a few quotes from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and search for evidence of faeries. All ages....

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Join park staff for an informal fishing experience. Take your own poles or borrow one through the Tackle Loaner Program. Bait and basic instruction provided. All participants 16 years and older...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Parkway
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

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Listen to nature-themed books and enjoy hands-on explorations in the garden. Ages 3-5 with caregiver. Register online.

Cost: $3/child

Where:
North Carolina Botanical Garden
100 Old Mason Farm Rd
Chapel Hill, NC  27517
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Sponsor: North Carolia Botanical Garden
Telephone: 919-537-3370
Contact Name: Elisha Taylor
Website »

More information

Kindergarten students entering year-round school practice a lunch line, get moving at recess, hop on a school bus and explore circle time.   

Cost: Free

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a slice or two of pizza while watching the movie "Beauty and the Beast" (2017). Ages 11 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $5/person, $2/ages 2 and younger

Where:
Halle Cultural Arts Center
237 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
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Website »

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A wonderfully kid-paced hour featuring music, play and dancing with toddler stars singing on the mic at Cotton's gently amplified & participatory music show. Children delight in...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Pump It Up Raleigh
10700 World Trade Blvd, #112
Raleigh, NC  27617
View map »


Sponsor: Pump it Up
Telephone: 919-828-3344
Contact Name: Owner/manager Kellie Paterson McHugh
Website »

More information

Meet Ms. Inger R. Jarmon as she discusses and displays her beautiful paintings. Drop-in program. 

Cost: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Ct.
Knightdale, NC  27545
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a kitten shower at SAFE Haven for Cats. Shop the registry (available on the website) and take your gifts to the shelter. Preview the kittens and cats up for adoption. Suggest names for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
SAFE Haven for Cats
8431 Garvey Dr., #137
Raleigh, NC  27616
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Website »

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Kids enjoy a fun-filled night including exhibit play and exploration, a movie and dinner. This drop-off event is for children ages 3-9; children must be potty-trained. Kids will exercise their...

Cost: $25/first child, $15/sibling

Where:
Kidzu Children's Museum
201 S. Estes Drive
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
View map »


Sponsor: Kidzu Children's Museum
Telephone: 919-933-1455
Website »

More information

Catch and release lightning bugs. Learn why they glow through hands-on discovery, games and more. All ages with adult. Advance registration required online.

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Crowder District Park
4709 Ten Ten Rd.
Apex, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Celebrate National Pollinator Week. Take a tour of Durham's pollinator gardens, engage in fun pollinator-related activities and learn why birds, bees, butterflies, and bugs alike are so...

Cost: $10-$18

Where:
Various locations in Durham
Durham , NC


Sponsor: Keep Durham Beautiful
Telephone: 919-560-4197 x. 2122
Contact Name: Britt Huggins
Website »

More information

Go nutty for nature as children satisfy some of their curiosity about the world around them and parents share in the joy of discovery. Ages 3-5 with parent. Register online.

Cost: $10/resident, $13/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Ages 18 mos-5 years and caregiver learn, explore and play outdoors, while doing a fun nature-based activity. Register online. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Forest Hills Park
1639 University Dr.
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


Sponsor: Tinkergarten
Telephone: 919-806-7502
Contact Name: Kate Macartney
Website »

More information

Discover three new decorated model homes while enjoying a day of free, family fun that features live music from local artist Jacob Briddle; magic tricks from Joel Givens; face painting,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Preserve at White Oak
2513 Sidewinder Court
Apex, NC  27523
View map »


Sponsor: Taylor Morrison
Telephone: 919-230-9856
Website »

More information

Take a 30-minute tour to view the main power drive and milling machinery. Tickets available inside the park's visitor center. Online registration encouraged.

Cost: $5/adult, $3 ages 7-16. Free for ages 6 and younger

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Ages 5-8 embrace science and nature while developing skills and knowledge about the natural world. Register online.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Explore the historic nature of Leigh Farm Park with a friendly guide. Venture inside the historic farmhouse while being captivated by tales about life at Leigh Farm throughout the years.

Cost: Free

Where:
Leigh Farm Park
370 Leigh Farm Rd.
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


Sponsor: Durham Parks and Recreation
Telephone: 919-560-1116
Contact Name: Natalya Buckel
Website »

More information

Jump into bookbinding with a simple pamphlet style starter. Create woven designs for book covers and learn to stitch a pamphlet binding to use as gifts, making notes, drawings and...

Cost: $20 (Tuition + Materials)

Where:
The Scrap Exchange
2050 Chapel Hill Rd
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


Sponsor: The Scrap Exchange
Telephone: 191-921-31278
Contact Name: Anna Graves
Website »

More information

Enjoy all-thing blueberry, food trucks and more at the 3rd annual Blueberry Festival. Vollmer Farms' Back-40 Country Playground will be open and features a giant jumping pillow,...

Cost: $12 advance tickets, $15 after June 20

Where:
Vollmer Farm
677 NC Hwy 98 East
Bunn, NC  27508
View map »


Sponsor: Vollmer Farm
Telephone: 919-496-3076
Website »

More information

Learn basic canoeing skills and explore the pond's features as only seen from the water. Ages 5 and older with adult. Advance registration required online.

Cost: $10/boat

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Enjoy live music by The (919) and food trucks. All ages.

Cost: Free

Where:
Great Meadow Park at Briar Chapel
Beacon Ridge Blvd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
View map »


Website »

More information

Discover what's happening in the forest as the sun sets and listen to stories around a campfire. All ages with adult. Register online.

Cost: $18/resident, $24/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Enjoy German food and music, as well as music from Beethoven. Purchase tickets online. Kids 12 and younger admitted free on the lawn. 

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Booth Amphitheatre
8003 Regency Pkwy.
Cary, NC
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