Father Time is a weekly column dedicated to the concept of time in a parent’s life, particularly a father’s life. The point of view comes from a father of two young sons, both under three-years-old, and how time really is just that: a concept.
Friday night is Take Out night at our home. All the cooking we’ve been doing that week goes on hold, and we pick a restaurant, call to place an order, then one, or all of us, head out on a small adventure to go pick up the food. Call it today’s hunting and gathering, the sole mission of a parent unchanged for millennia.
It was this particular Friday, Super Bowl weekend, that our plan changed, somewhat at the last minute. My wife had been invited to a happy hour by some neighborhood moms a few days before. They were planning to go to a wine bar for some tastings.
Wife: Can I go?
Husband: Sure you can! No need to ask me. I got this. It’s take-out night.
I had been thinking anyway it would be a good night for pizza. Have it delivered, feed my little boys, play, and stay in for the night. Done.
But then as Friday wound down after a long work week for me, and as I heard my wife talk about how she would be meeting up with her friends, and how they would Uber out of the valley and go uptown for the night, I got the itch to go out. And not just to procure the food per usual: me, driving around, waiting for a parking spot to open up in front of the restaurant, so that I could sprint out and pick it up. No, I had in mind pizza and beer in the restaurant itself. Sit down. Place an order with a server. Hang out with the guys. My guys.
And so, I sent out a text to some neighborhood dads. Pizza, beer, across the street at Oggi’s. 5:30-ish. I’m bringing my kids. You in?
You get a few looks when it’s men and babies in a sports bar. Especially when your nine-month-old has just learned to scream at the top of his lungs. The young girl servers come by and flirt with the little guys, and the guy servers don’t know that a pint of beer shouldn’t be placed any where near a two-year old with long arms. The other diners around your table can’t seem to negotiate your car seats and backpacks with food and supplies. You, a guy, aren’t supposed to be out here with your babies on a Friday night.
But yes, we were. My dad bros showed up, with their girls and their girls’ Barbies. We had an instant party. Beers on the table, pizza out, it felt, for a just a moment, like the old Friday nights. My friend Alex said, “Back in the day, this is what we used to do before we even went out for the night.”
I laughed and agreed, nursing a beer, something I hadn’t had in weeks. Months?
My little guys were perfect gentlemen. They sat and ate well, distracted by the noise and TV screens with basketball, golf, and hockey. Afterward, I showed them how to play pin ball. It all worked out. There was nothing complicated to bringing two children out to dinner by myself. My wife and I do take them out to restaurants, but it’s so few and far between, that this guys’ night will go down in my book as a victory. One I’ll hopefully repeat. I’ve always said I needed and wanted more guy time, and now I know I have just the two people to have it with: my sons.
Photo credit: Robert Couse-Baker.