She has to top this forever

06/15/2008 By Shawn Burns

Today I will enjoy my second Father’s Day. I have decided, after much pressuring to just make up my frickin’ mind already, that I will have breakfast with Erin and Emily, take a long bike ride in the hills behind Menlo Park and Redwood City, and then take Erin to some farmzooment park called Happy Hollow.

I’m supposed to be relaxing all day, right? No.

For a lot of dads Father’s Day means a day off, which means more time spent with family. I can’t really take a day off, because if I did that would mean less time spent with my family.

And there are other people involved in making me a father: Emily, of course, who stayed married to me for a long time, deciding every day whether or not she still liked me enough to keep me around (I always squeaked by); and Erin.

I’ve been listening to that Barenaked Ladies CD a lot over the last few days, and there is one song in particular that stays in my head. It’s the short one, and it goes:

There are things that make me mad

You are not one of them.

There are things that make me sad

You are not one of them.

There are things that make me Dad

You seem to be all of them.

As I said, I’m pretty sure Emily had a lot to do with it, but the song tells a heart-truth.

So, because Erin plays as big a role in my being a father as I do, I’m pretty sure that making sure that she has a great day is just as important as basking in the adoration of my family. On Father’s Day least of all can I choose to not be a father.

So we’re going to Happy Hollow and she’ll pet some goats or something; make friends with a chicken, then eat it.

And I’ll carry her around like I do every day, and I’ll tell her that I love her over and over again, and I’ll laugh at how cute she is when she says "Moooooo!"

I do get some time, just for me, though. I don’t need the whole day, but I’ll take part of it. That’s a little gift for me.

Erin will be very hard pressed to ever top her very first Father’s Day present to me, however.

We were somewhere between the Grapevine and Gilroy on I-5 on the night before Father’s Day last year. We thought we’d make it home, but we ate something unfortunate and just had to lay low for the night. So we found a highway hotel and settled in.

It was the end of Erin’s first trip to Disneyland; she was seven and half weeks old, and I was seven and a half weeks new as a dad. As we readied ourselves for bed I played with Erin as I had been doing for about 53 days. I prompted her to say "Hi Daddy" as I had been doing since she began babbling a few weeks earlier: Every sound she made was a word, so I thought. "She’s going to be talking any day now, self," I said frequently to myself.

"Hi da-ee."

Wha? Gah! Holy crap!

I looked up at Emily and she stared back, absolutely stunned.

"I would never have believed you if you told me she said that and I hadn’t been here."

No kidding.

So, Erin’s first Father’s Day present to me was to look me straight in the eye and say "Hi da-ee".

I then used up an hour and a half of space on the camcorder trying to catch her saying it again. She didn’t repeat it until six months later, at Christmas. Again, when I didn’t have the camera on her, although Emily Coda‘d her previous statement.

It was great hearing it the second time. But, that’s the last time I let her get me the same thing for two gift-giving holidays in the same year.

Two presents, kid. My birthday is in there too. I like books.

"Happy Father’s Day, guys."

You said it, baby girl.