Here’s what I don’t want for Father’s Day. I don’t want any of the crap that companies claim is exactly what every dad needs: a giant bag of meat, or some sort of box set about war, or socks, or a big crate of fancy beers. Alright, I’ll take the beers. But all the other stuff? It’s just stuff, and the last thing anybody needs is more stuff.
So here’s what I do want for Father’s Day. I want a cuddle with my daughter – an enormous lovely one where she squeezes really tightly and her head fits into my shoulder so perfectly that I never want to let go – and somehow, more time.
Time. I don’t understand where it all goes, and ever since becoming a father I feel perpetually, cripplingly behind. I want a Tom’s Midnight Garden scenario where I somehow, magically, have an extra four hours a day I can use however I want. Because imagine what that’d be like, as a parent, to have more time?
I don’t want to spend any less time with my daughter – but I also want to find time somehow to be a better, less tired husband. And to see my friends without just talking about how exhausted I am.
I want time to have hobbies again, to do creative things for their own sake and not because I think they might be monetisable, to revive long-dormant projects and start new ones. I want time to get my crap band back together, and do crap stand-up again without it eating into time spent with my family.
I want time to go out with my wife and drink silly drinks that come in stupid vessels that look like other things, and explore bits of the world we haven’t seen, and not know or care how late it is.
I want time to build big daft things out of cardboard with my daughter, and show her everything in the world that is wonderful and interesting. I want to paint more pictures with her and do more dancing in the kitchen, and roll around on the ground with her laughing our heads off.
I want to do all that without worrying that there’s a big load of laundry to be done, that the loft needs to be sorted out, that I’ve missed some work deadlines, that we can’t afford to go on holiday this year, and that we don’t know when my daughter will next see her cousins who live overseas.
I want time. More of it, lots of it, gallons of it.
And I also want this 3,000-piece LEGO Jurassic Park set. And a big crate of fancy beers does sound nice. Actually, definitely get me those.