by Sean Leslie
As the father of two small children—a five-year-old boy and a one-year-old girl, both of whom I love dearly—I’m very much looking forward to Sunday, June 16, aka “Father’s Day.” Why am I excited for Father’s Day? Is it because I’m looking forward to spending the day with my kids?
If you’re a parent—be it a dad or a mom—you get it. We love our kids, of course. But we also love sleeping past, oh, say 5:30 in the morning once in a while. And, once in a while, we love having time to pursue our passions and interests that predate and don’t involve our children.
Like many dads, for me, a day spent pursuing my personal passions might include fly fishing, mountain biking, visiting a craft brewery—or two—watching my local sports teams—in person or on television—and, yes, spending some quality time with my children. (I’m not a golfer, but golf is a supremely popular Father’s Day activity, and I do understand the appeal.)
So, knowing what I know, I’m going to list out these activities as I’d pursue them on my ideal Father’s Day:
6 Steps to a Perfect Father’s Day (for this “outdoorsy” father of two)
1. Sleeping until 9:30
Having done extensive research on sleeping in—mostly in my college years—I’ve determined that the optimal time at which to start my day is at approximately 9:30am. Any earlier, and it really shouldn’t qualify as “sleeping in.” Any later, and I’ve effectively wasted the day. So, partners and children of fathers everywhere, listen closely; let dad sleep in until roughly 9:30. Do not disturb him before that, no matter how badly you want to serve him breakfast in bed or give him your hand-drawn Father’s Day card. If he wakes up before 9:30 of his own accord, fantastic. Otherwise, let the man sleep!
2. Mid-morning fishing
Any serious angler will tell you that you need to be up at the crack of dawn if you want to land the big one. But you know what? It’s Father’s Day, and that means you can justify a couple extra hours of peaceful snoozing. So, after a hearty breakfast of Dad’s choosing—Biscuits and gravy, anyone? Eggs and bacon? Breakfast burrito?—this outdoorsy Dad dreams of grabbing his fly rod and waders, finding a quiet stretch of river, making a few casts with absolutely terrible technique, and not catching a thing, as per usual.
3. Midday mountain biking
After peeling off the waders, I’ll be loading my mountain bike into the back of the truck and heading to the singletrack. This dad thinks it’s tough to beat whipping through a grove of aspens or a forest of pines, then popping out on a ridgeline after a heart-pumping, pedal-grinding climb to take in a sweeping view. Nothing too crazy; maybe a spin of around 15 miles, maybe with a buddy or two, certainly with a cold beer waiting back at the trailhead.
4. Grabbing a beer with the guys at a local brew pub
As most dads know, nothing complements a cold beer like… another cold beer. So, it’ll be off to the brew pub for a sampler of their finest brews, or maybe a pint of an old favorite. Either way, kicking back in the sun with a frosty beverage in hand and cracking terrible jokes with the guys is the perfect way to wind down after a ride. It’s also perfect by itself, for that matter; no ride required.
5. Watching the game
The one failing of Father’s Day is that it falls in a part of the year without football, and this despite the fact it’s on a Sunday! Still, there’s baseball, soccer, basketball and hockey on TV, so dads should be able to find at least one team to cheer for. (Pro tip: Combining step four with step five can exponentially improve these already-excellent activities.)
6. Hanging out with the kiddos in the backyard
Jokes aside, like all fathers, I love my kids dearly. Even when they wake me up before 9:30—though I admittedly love them slightly less if they wake me up before 6. But no matter the time of day, I’m always excited to spend time with them.
These days, in our age of constant communication, it can be hard to find time to sit, talk and connect with our kids. I’ve found that grilling some burgers in the backyard, then sitting around my Solo Stove Bonfire fire pit and talking to my children as the sun goes down is one of the most enjoyable activities in my life. And reconnecting with my family at the end of a day would make for the perfect end to the perfect Father’s Day.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Here’s to sleeping to 9:30!