Father’s Day Done Right

What is the greatest gift you can get on Father’s Day?

playing the board game, pandemic on Father's Day at Mr. Mikes.
Getting ready to play the board game Pandemic on Father’s Day

I think every dad has a different idea of what makes the BEST Father’s Day: fishing, bowling, golfing, camping, whiskey, strippers… but for me, it’s playing a game with my family.

So, this year, I chose for forgo presents, dinner, and whiskey to play a game.

See, I love to play games. Risk. Life. Chess. Apples To Apples. Catan. But the games I love the most are the cooperative ones. D&D is such a game, where a group gathers to overcome obstacles by working together, but I would have more luck getting The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World to shave her head than play that game, so I found another one. Pandemic.

There’s a cool video on the game below, but basically, 2-4 players must cure 4 plagues before they become pandemics and wipe out the world. We either all win together, or we lose together.

It’s a cool life lesson.

Now the challenge was that we had never played this game before. None of us.

In a perfect world, the boys would have learned the rules but that was a bridge too far, sort of like getting your dog to write letters to the editor complaining about lack of fire hydrants. So I did what you do these days – I watched YouTube videos.

After about an hour of watching tutorials and gamers gaming, I was ready, more or less. It looked simple enough, but the devil, as they say, is in the details. Basically, you win by defeating the 4 diseases, but you could lose if you run out of territory cards, if you run out of disease counters, or the outbreaks become so many that they overwhelmed the world.

Whew. I’d never played a game with so many ways to lose.

We drove down to Mr. Mikes, where they encourage you to play games, and set up the board. The manager came over immediately, excited by our choice and after we told him this was our first time playing Pandemic, he told us to get him ANYTIME you have a question.

That was cool. Plus, Mr. Mikes has the Mike burger and that’s one of my favourite burgers (mostly based on my childhood, where a visit to Mr. Mikes was, at least for us, 5 star dining!)

The game began well enough and we pounced on the diseases sprouting up around the world like Harvey Weinstein pounces on vulnerable women. We even managed to eradicate one, and stop numerous outbreaks from spreading too far.

The-Youngest was amazing, often thinking 2-3 moves ahead, but in the end, we ran out of territory cards, and lost. I see this as running out of resources, like suddenly someone defunds the program and starts up a starbucks somewhere.

But I had a ton of fun. Not sure everyone else did, but they were troopers and had done something that 2 of 4 didn’t particularly enjoy.

It was a great Father’s Day!

But to answer the question posed in the first sentence, the greatest Father’s Day gift that can be given is not playing a game.

No.

It’s the gift of time. It is the most precious commodity we possess, the only one that matters in the long run.

Father’s Day was the best because 3 people gave their time to me so I could have some fun. How awesome is that?

Can Parenting Be Rewarding?

familyguy1Ok, so how many times do we get to feel awesome about being a parent?

Well, something happened on Sunday that made up for all the times I found stinky socks stuffed in the couch, had to find a bucket for someone to throw-up in, or had to endure a grade 4 band concert.

As any parent knows, most of the time feeling great about being a parent, well, it’s more of a self-inflicted feeling of awesomeness. Like when you get up at 5am for hockey and remember to take the water bottle. No one says, way to go, you just know you done good. And remembered to put on pants.

But this Saturday, we had an early Father’s Day. Since we share the boys, we wouldn’t be getting them for real Father’s Day, so we decided to do Joe-things a week early. For me, the best present is doing stuff together. Playing a game. Watching an epic movie. Or, in this case, going to Science World to play around with… errr, I mean… to learn about all cool science stuff.

Science World Spy Exhibit? Who dunnit?
Science World Spy Exhibit? Who dunnit?

And this time, they had an exhibition on spying! So I was super excited. More so than the boys, but that’s ok.

But before we left, they gave me their Father’s Day cards. The-Youngest gave me a cool card that also had a clip-on tie attached that played the Rocky theme. I plan to wear that tie at my wedding as I walk down the aisle. I may also wear boxing gloves and my shiny, yellow boxing shorts. Be warned.

But it was a great card. He’d been so happy to find it, and even happier that it made me laugh.

The-Oldest, however, gave me a card he’d created himself. He has a tradition of doing this and I have to say, they are nothing short of amazing. He prides himself on making his mom laugh and cry. All with one card.

But I’m me. I should be immune to whatever he’d write, right?

Well… nope.

He got me to cry too.

Here’s what he wrote:

He even had drawings!
He even had drawings!

Here is the story of Joe, the father. Right away Joe hooked up with someone named Corinne, #cutie: plus my mom. And by ‘hooked up’, I mean intertwined. These two were so perfect for each other it was unbelievable.  

A couple of months in, my mom begins to mention introducing kids and Joe gets surprised. “How am I going to deal with two crazy brothers?” he thinks.

Well, I’m going to tell you the next couple of years that unfold.

The fact that Joe had a dog really helped with our meeting because it was a dog walk. We got to meet Joe’s dog, Vegas, and we got to meet Joe and he seemed like a pretty good guy, plus we got to teach him about minecraft.

IMG_8939Then all *heck broke loose. We began doing EVERYTHING with Joe. I noticed my mommy felt supported and me and The-Youngest felt supported and we learned many, many new things from Joe. He even eventually helped mommy buy a new house which I abide in today and so does Joe. Stuff escalated quickly. We all went on a bunch of crazy trips all with, and because of, Joe.

To me, he is an amazing Father figure, always helping us and getting things done, whether it be playing minecraft with us, or fixing the gutter, or the pool outside. Joe has been and will be with us to the very end, I hope, because he and mommy are engaged. Life’s been great with Joe around and there’s no doubt in my mind he’s a great father figure.

Happy Father’s Day.

I had to laugh at the hashtag. But it melted my heart to read the rest.

All things considered, the Science World trip was fun and even if the damn spy exhibit was too complex for me (I should have done the kid’s version), I will remember those cards forever.

And be grateful to be part of such a wonderful family.