This isn’t a treatise about how buying your ex a Father’s Day gift makes you a/the better person.
It’s a warning about what happens when you’re a helicopter control freak.
I buy my ex a Father’s Day gift each year because I’ve parented two children to their teens who are completely disinterested in the gift-buying process because, like stacking the dishwasher, I’ve always done it for them.
Carefully chosen and lovingly wrapped gifts miraculously appear in their hands whenever birthdays, Christmas or other special occasions arise.
So, despite having broken up with their dad four years ago, the task of sourcing birthday, Christmas and Father’s Day gifts still falls to me.
People have suggested that I should just give the kids some cash and set them loose at Westfield, but they – not surprisingly – prefer the current arrangement.
And I prefer to put my money towards giving him something useful that he’ll enjoy.
Although, typing those words does give me pause: does he really want a thoughtful gift sourced by his ex?
Hmmmm … I might overthink that some other time at 3am. Anyhoo …
Every Christmas, I put together a photo album of the kids’ year for him. That’s always a hit.
It inspired me to make a photo album for Father’s Day of the youngest’s trip to the World Jump Rope Championships in Shanghai.
It’s so lovely! I ordered myself one too.
But I was totally stumped about what to put with it.
Then I saw a story in The Good Weekend about great Father’s Day reads, so I got him the new Michael Ondaatje and David Sedaris books.
We were both huge Ondaatje fans in the happier years of our marriage. His autobiographical “Running in the Family” is a beaut.
I had a leftover bookmark from China with a blue dragon on it, so I stuck that inside the front cover one of them.
But I was still worried it looked a bit meagre, considering he got me tickets to take the kids to see Priscilla Queen of the Desert the musical as my Mother’s Day present.
I know it should be the thought that counts, but …
So I grabbed him some Darrell Lea Rocky Road from the shops. He loves a bit of Darrell Lea Rocky Road and always gets himself the gift bag when we go to the Royal Easter Show.
I still felt something was missing, then I remembered how much he loved watching the rebooted Battlestar Galactica when it first came out. I bought a copy of the first series on DVD for the eldest for Chrissie, but they turned their nose up.
So I’m on-gifting it. Maybe he’ll have better luck talking it up ad a bonding activity.
My decision was cemented by an article I saw on Mashable called “Why ‘Battlestar Galactica’ is still the greatest sci-fi TV show of all time”.
The 2004 series “caught lightning in a bottle like no other sci-fi show before or since” – because of casting, chemistry, and consistently great writing. It was also comfortable asking big questions that have their roots in the kinds of social dilemmas America and the world faces today.
There’s even a book that’s been written about it – Battlestar Galactica and International Relations – that explores how the writers of the show took on a range of important political themes and issues, including the legitimacy of military government, the tactical utility of genocide, and even the philosophical implications of artificial intelligence technologies for the very category of what it means to be ‘human’.
Deep … but I digress …
And with that, I think I’m done. Just wrapping paper and a card to go … oh and a little harrassment to get the kids to write something more poignant on the card than just their names.
I know it’s a bit whacked that I go to so much trouble for someone who walked out on me. But he’s a good dad and I want him to have a good Father’s Day.
There’s enough conflict and nasty behaviour in the world already.
Don’t be a dick and all that jazz.
Song of the day: Big Pig “I can’t break away”