Whenever Father’s Day would roll around when I was a youngster, the inevitable question arose, “Why isn’t there a kid’s day?”
Every parent ever to draw a breath gave the same reply, “Everyday is kid’s day.”
Thinking back, there was a lot of truth to that statement. We did celebrate kid’s day nearly everyday, and I certainly don’t remember going out of my way to make my father’s days resplendent on any regular basis.
Unless you count the time my brothers and I decided to dig a tunnel under the next door neighbor’s house to get to our friend’s basement. We figured some water would soften up the soil, so we let the hose run for the better part of a day while we dug.
Shockingly, we didn’t make it all the way to Craig’s basement, but we did manage to accomplish a two-for-one parent conniption.
My mom’s day was made by an entire house full of mud-tracked carpets after I walked through every room, crying, naked and dripping, searching for her so I could tattle on my brothers.
I had to rat them out because once it became obvious that we weren’t going to accomplish our original goal, a new one was quickly established. Throw the stripped down youngest kid — that’s me — headfirst into the muck-filled pit.
As for my father’s day, we managed to ruin any remaining remnant of grass that might have once existed in our backyard. As a bonus, he got to be the “wait ’til your father gets home” guy. Every dad loves that.
That was just one of the never-ending escapades that occurred in that yard, none of which were designed to make my father’s day.
There was the time we decided to build, and of course fly, an airplane. We watched it drop like a rock after pushing it out of a tree. I still remember being totally shocked that it didn’t soar off into the sky. The only thing my oldest brother landed was a bruised ego, a broken arm and a trip to the emergency room.
There were more biblical style floods whenever we decided to build a submarine, make a fishing hole or form a river. Assorted fires were set for smoke signals, “camping” or just plain pyromania.
Untold wars unfolded on that little patch of ground. We fought and re-fought every battle from Gettysburg to Iwo Jima within the confines of a fenced-in plot. These required foxholes, forts and some drastic destruction, often resulting in real casualties. In fact, that’s how we knew when it was time to quit, when someone got really hurt. Off to the hospital kind of hurt.
Now that makes a father’s day.
Luckily our kids didn’t fulfill every parent’s curse of “One day I hope you have kids just as bad as you.” Ours were exceedingly tame by comparison — only one broken bone and only a handful of frantic trips to the emergency ward.
I guess having girls first meant that we could expect more kitchen catastrophes than total outdoor devastation. They were much more likely to dress up their little brother in some outrageous outfit than to drop him head first into a bottomless mud pit.
Our backyard was never flooded, blood-soaked, set aflame or crash-landed upon.
My father finally gave up on growing a single blade of grass in that backyard of my youth. One day a dump truck filled with sand showed up and turned the whole thing into a giant cat box.
I think it must have been Father’s Day.