What Dads Really Want For Father’s Day

photo by andrec

Fourteen dads make a wish list for Father’s Day that ranges from the fantastic to the absurd. Sadly, no one wants a necktie.


 Carter Gaddis, DadScribe

For Father’s Day, I want a house with an endless hallway lined with doors that open onto dreamscapes where all the greatest memories of our family can be relived in full, vivid, technicolor detail. I want to be able to play with my kids at every age, to be able to go into the back yard and throw them into the sky and catch them every time and laugh and hear “Again! Higher!” I want to get down on the floor with them while they crawl toward me and fall, face first, into the carpet and laugh and laugh. I want my dad there, too.


 Brent Almond, Designer Daddy

The day after Father’s Day, my husband and I and our 3 year-old fly across the country to visit our son’s birth parents, as part of our open adoption agreement. We see them annually, but this will be the first time after having explained to our son (albeit in very basic terms) about where and who he comes from. I’m sure he’ll do fine — however I’m struggling with and stressing out about all the unknowns spinning around in my head. So what do I really want for Father’s Day? A day of hugs and kisses,  tickles and cartoons, chasing the dog and playing in the sprinkler…nothing special. And everything special.



Five simple things I want for Father’s Day, each should be pretty easy to come by.

1) I want security – security to know that I will be able to provide for my family for as long as they need it, and that no horrible tragedies will befall the people I love.

2) I want to be able to share the things that I get excited about with my wife, like the new Superman movie, or the microbrewery that just opened nearby, or the latest Star Wars Lego set — because having a 15-month-old and two other kids makes it so easy for both of us to do things together as a couple. ((not))

3) I want the seasons for “Game of Thrones” and “Walking Dead” to be much, much longer than they already are.

4) I want to resolve the terrible guilt I feel taking time away from my family to take care of myself, and the terrible frustration I feel taking time away from myself to take care of my family.

5) I want to finally be picked to be a volunteer on “Mythbusters,” especially since I’ve tried three times already without getting the call, and my sister tried only once and totally got picked — and she doesn’t even watch the show, dammit!!

You should be able to handle those things, right Honey?


Chris Bridgman


Original illustration by Swedish artist Chris Bridgman


Gint Aras, Marriage Editor, Good Men Project
What I would love on Father’s Day is to wake up early, take a shower, ride the elevated train to a neighborhood in Chicago where I’d bring only a book, a pen and my journal. I’d be free from cell phone conversations, orders or requests, complaints or e-mail messages of any kind. I’d read for as long as I want, take a walk if I wish, and go home after the sun had set. Just a day to myself without anyone dumping their issue on me. That would be a dream.


Scott Behson, www.FathersWorkandFamily.com

All I want for Father’s Day is this. To hold on to this moment for a little while longer. My son is happy and healthy and doing great. He’s the joy of my life, and he will only be 8 for such an achingly short time. My wife is fantastic, and things are good at work and home. I feel so blessed and fortunate and full. I just want to soak it in and remain in this moment for as long as I can.


Whit Honea, Honea Express

I’m a simple man with simple tastes. I don’t want for much and probably deserve about half that. That said, I have never asked for anything for Father’s Day, and I have no intention of starting now.

Except that I really want to go see that new Superman flick. And I love gelato. Plus, one can’t go to a movie, where there will undoubtedly be a bucket of popcorn, and then out for gelato, without some sort of base, so a meal would be nice. Maybe a salad.

Also, I have a standing registry at BevMo!, if that’s on your way home.


Tom Burns, Building a Library

For Father’s Day this year, I’d love to get the appropriate credit for trying to be a good dad – operative word there is “trying” – when I actually deserve that credit. Because dads, in my experience, tend to get positive reinforcement at the weirdest of times. If I take my daughter out to breakfast, just the two of us, 90% of the time, someone will stop and say, “Aww, what a good dad.” And you know what? Bullshit. That’s not me being a good dad. That’s me wanting waffles. Anytime I take my daughter anywhere on my own – the library, school events, Target – I get a completely disproportionate amount of “oohs” and approving head-nods from the general population. Which is CRAZY. Most of the time, we just needed to return a book or buy some toilet paper. And the worst part is – that has NEVER happened to my wife. EVER. People don’t get all misty when they see a mom and a daughter hanging out alone. They just roll their eyes and go, “What? You want a medal for doing your JOB?”

That’s not me being a good dad. That’s me wanting waffles.

I’m not saying I NEVER deserve a pat on the back for attempting to be an engaged father. I just don’t want a trophy for taking my kid to the movies. Now, that one time, when we were on a family vacation and EVERYONE else in our family went to see “Argo” and, to make my kid happy, I agreed to take her to see the inoffensive crap-fest “Parental Guidance” with Billy Crystal and Bette Midler on my own… THAT was when I deserved a trophy. Seriously. WHERE WAS MY PARADE, AMERICA? So, for Father’s Day this year, give me credit when credit is due. Tell me I’m awesome when I give my kid the last ice cream sandwich, make polite conversation with her friends’ boring parents, or get a splinter out of her finger without making her cry. But giving me high praise for simply spending time with her? That cheapens us both.

And, if you’re taking requests, I also want a pony and a plastic rocket.


Adrian Kulp, Dad or Alive

What do I really want for Father’s Day?  I think I’m already getting it. I’m going camping with my wife and kids for the first time in a year. This will be my son’s first time. I’m getting the opportunity to read a chapter of the comedic parenting memoir I spent a year writing at the bookstore in my childhood hometown. I’m also going to listen to a ball game on the radio with my old man, as we float across the lake, casting lures against the shoreline.  Oh right… I’m also gonna find some of those handmade pierogies that they make in the basement of the local church. That seems pretty good by me.


Zach Rosenberg, 8BitDad

In four years of being a father, I’ve never known what I’ve wanted. Nothing, ideally. But I can tell you, with certainty, what I don’t want: cards, gifts or something forced. Sure, I love it when my son can be wrangled, focused and forced to write “DAD” with that “I’m all out of fucks to give” penmanship that only a four year old can make charming. I love stuff, and sure, I need an iPhone lightning-to-30-pin converter, one of those extending fruit-picker things, and most fitting for the day, a tie. But I don’t want someone (my wife) to get any of that for me because she and my son are “supposed” to. Screw what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to love each other with all of our hearts every day of our lives. I’m not here to lecture you, and I really don’t want to veer too hard into the contrived “manufactured holiday” thing because ew, how annoying are those people? So look, I want more of the same. I love my family and they love me. What more could I want? Since the Kings won’t be winning the Stanley Cup again, I’ll take Duffer’s time machine.


John Kinnear, Ask Your Dad

What do I want for Father’s Day? Well, let’s see. I wouldn’t be opposed to having breakfast for all three meals. Some sort of activity with my kids would be swell. Maybe the park or something? I don’t want any gifts or cards. I just want time. I want all the time I can get. I want to pause my kids and bask in joy they get in the simple things for longer than our trips around the sun will let us. I want to watch my wife light up when our kids sing. I want more hours between when I get home from work and bedtime. I want time.  So yeah… I want three breakfasts and a magical stopwatch that lets me freeze time. Oh, and a back rub.


Dave Lesser, Amateur Idiot / Professional Dad

I love being a dad. I love being a stay at home dad. My kids are awesome. My wife’s the best! But for Father’s Day – my day – I wouldn’t mind doing something a little more solitary. An obstacle race. Damn, did everyone else already say that? I hate being so cliche! Mud runs have become a bit of obsession for me. For my Father’s Day race, my family would watch me conquer each obstacle (normally, spectators can only see a few). And, so I didn’t get in trouble later, my wife would remain squeaky clean. After I crossed the finish line, it’d be cool to watch my four year old attempt one of the kid races. 4360987794_3e40530450_oOn the way home, we’d regale each other in our heroic feats. Then, we’d have a family bbq. And, if I’m making wishes, my daughter would actually eat something. I’d drink some beer, happy that the day after Father’s Day I’d be back to my normal dad duties.


Jeff Bogle, Out With The Kids (OWTK)

It might sound trite to say, but I have everything I could ever want as a father and as a husband (if you know what I mean, fellas). I’ve landed myself a wife who from day one has believed in me and my oft ridiculous dreams, schemes, and plans. She adores me even when I’m a pouty self-doubting asshole, which to be fair, are not infrequent occurrences, and shoots straight with me when it comes to ideas that even for me are too hairbrained to invest time, energy, and money in to. And I’ve got two daughters who exhibit the best and worst traits of their father (that’s me, in case you’re keeping score at home) thus providing me with the greatest challenge I could ever take on, and the most beautifully maddening joy I could ever have wished for as a young man. They believe in the wonder of the world and from just about the moment they were hatched, have given me every opportunity to revel in a magical 2nd childhood myself. There is no gift today, nothing that could be boxed or bowed, that would come close to what my three ladies give me every single day of my life.


Aaron Gouveia, The Daddy Files

I want to go to Fenway Park with my son during the day and watch the Red Sox win. At night I’d like a steak dinner and my wife. What can I say? I’m a simple man.


Robert Duffer, Editor of the Dads & Families section of the Good Men Project

I want a time machine. I want to be able to flash forward and see what it will be like to have a beer with my grown kids on their porch, stoop, patio, balcony, trunk. I want to flash back in time to the moments right when I lost my temper and stop myself to put it all in perspective. I want to record all the smaller beautiful moments and images where they said something that cracked me up and did something that welcomed tears of joy. I want to pause right now, and I want to thank the person with the one bit of unsolicited parenting advice that has remained true for seven years: it gets better every day. If we’re pausing and forwarding and rewinding we might as well add a mute button, for those days when their noise shouts over my love.

And I want their hugs.


Thanks to the moms, partners, parents and kids who make us feel special most every day!

— photo by andrec / flickr

—for more on Chris’s artwork, check out his website

—body image by Sean MacEntee/Flickr

About the Editors

We're all in this together.


  1. If some one wishes to be updated with most
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  2. Crying and laughing, thank you! You have reminded me again how much I love men!

  3. Sounds like a new adventure in life, Jules. Have a great time–hope it leads to many more like it.

  4. I have a 16 yr old son. On Fathers Day, we are going on a fishing trip in the Chesapeake Bay for rock fish.

    I decided to invite my girlfriend who has a 10 yr old daughter. This will be very first time my son will see me interact with another woman.

    My son is very gentle and caring for kids younger. He has a Montessori education where kids are taught not just academics, but to care for one another. The older kids are responsible for the younger kids.

    So, I really am looking forward to Fathers Day!

  5. Yeah, Fathers Day was great when they (kids) were small. It’s when they grow up and move far away it becomes another Sunday in June. I’ll just spend the morning at the vet cemetery with my dad and work the rest of the day. Maybe if my Son makes it home from Afghanistan I’ll get to have that beer with him you were talking about. In the meantime, all you fellows with young ones, enjoy Sunday and EVERY OTHER day with your kids. Trust me, it goes by fast!

  6. Hey, Heidi. I didn’t mean to make anyone sad. My daughter is only 4 1/2. She’s not going for the waif look; she’s just a crazy picky eater. It’s frustrating, but hardly tragic.

    I’m glad you liked the rest of the list.

    Happy Father’s Day, dudes!

    • Oh lol there I go forcing my own biases on another person’s perfectly innocent wishes. Hahaha. I hope you had a good one and hugs to the lucky 4 1/2 year old!

      P.S. I got over Kate Moss & beauty mags after dad introduced me to Sky & Telescope 😉

  7. It’s kinda sad about Dave Lesser wishing his daughter would actually eat something. Reminds me of my parents when I was 14 and wouldn’t eat because I wanted to be Kate Moss…

    Simple and whimsical wishes in one list. I like it. Happy Father’s Day to all father figures in this world!

  8. I didn’t realize I could ask for time machines and crazy crap like that. I’ve got some giggles and cartoons to trade…

  9. Great list, great dads.

  10. Wait, I take everything I said back. I want Aaron Gouveia’s steak dinner.


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