Today, we are happy to have Jan’s husband, Tom Johnson, share a guest post. He is a wonderful husband, dad, accomplished entertainer, actor, singer, and musician, all around fix-it guy, remodeler, furniture builder, biker, and most of all–his grandkids adore him! You can find out more about the group he performs with here.
My wife and daughter have been running this great website, In A Tickle, for a while now and some of the insights they’ve shared could be life changing. I pondered the idea of being a guest article writer but wasn’t sure what I could share that could make a difference in people’s lives. Then it hit me. Almost 30 years ago, I launched something that has been a favorite family tradition. Having stood the test of time through two generations, I want to encourage Dads with this.
As working men, we don’t get to spend as much time as we want with our children. Therefore, the time we spend needs to be quality and focused. And when we do, it pays dividends. Now your investment may not be realized immediately but, believe me, just like financial investments, you will reap incredible benefits later on down the road.
My particular investment has been and continues to be this–I take each of the kids out to eat on their birthday, just the two of us. It began with our oldest offspring when he turned three. There was a restaurant where we were living at the time called Pinocchio’s. It was a sit down style, full menu place that had cartoon characters painted all around the eating area. Son-O-Mine sat in a booster chair, I sat next to him, and we had breakfast together. It wasn’t as much of a disaster as I thought it could have been, though the clean up was mildly intensive. I cut up his pancake but let him shovel it in. He drank his juice through a straw and the fruit was hand delivered to his mouth. No one was injured in the process and we returned home happy and well fed.
Well, the tradition was birthed. Two daughters later, we all looked forward to Birthday Breakfast with Daddy. As they grew older, the breakfast turned into Birthday Lunch as our lifestyle became less early morning, and eventually, it turned into Dinner with Dad. One time I asked one of the kids if they wanted to take Mom with us. In no uncertain terms, I was reminded that this was Birthday Dinner with Dad. She could come any other time, but this was sacred.
As our kids have now scattered across the country pursuing their life dreams, I seldom get a chance to get together with them on their birthday. We get together when we can and enjoy our time together as much as we can.
HOWEVER! Breakfast with Dad has bridged to the next generation and has now become Breakfast with Pa. Now when I was a tike up in northern Wisconsin, we always referred to our grandparents using their last name. Grandpa and Grandma Droslum or Grandma and Grandpa Johnson. Down here it’s Papaw, Memaw, Nana, Big Daddy or Pawpaw. Ok, I succumbed to the nomenclature shift and decided it would be easiest for the grandkids to just call me “Pa.” Thus, Breakfast with Pa!
So, now I get to take my grandkids out on their birthday. It also helped that our first grandchild, Ninja Boy, was born on my birthday. But My Princess and I have had a blast, too.
WORD OF CAUTION: Check out the place where you want to take your birthday celebrator. My Princess and I went to a local chain restaurant (that will remain nameless) and walked away $26 poorer with minimal culinary satisfaction. She wanted a waffle. Little did I know that they charged almost $7 for one! And the three year old only ate half of it!
My final encouragement is: Take pictures! Not only can you brag to anyone who will listen of your brilliant idea, but the memories that you capture can be relived with your children and grandchildren as the years race by. You will never regret the time you took to create these special memories.
Note from Melinda: this tradition has been a very special thing in my life. In fact, I am 27 years old, and since I live close to Dad, when my birthday comes around, I ask when we are going out. Three kids later, I’ve taken babies along with me to birthday dates or left them at home with my Hubby. I plan to keep it up as long as he’ll let me.