Parenting & Fatherhood

What Fathers Really Want for Father’s Day

What Fathers Really Want for Father’s Day

Also posted on The Good Men Project

It’s that time of the year when my kids start their difficult process of figuring out what to buy me for Father’s Day. They get together and discuss if I have said anything that might give them an idea or if I have hinted at anything. Same routine, different year.

In most families mom is there to help. In my family, my five (2 boys, 3 girls) children’s mother left almost 20 years ago, when they were little. I have been their mom and their dad but not their Mr. Mom for 20 years. Once they became old enough, they had to learn how to get gifts on their own. Ironically, this has been a blessing since (now as adults) I have seen them become expert gift-givers to their siblings and boy/girlfriends.

I decided this year I was going to make it easy on my kids and tell them what I really want for Father’s Day. Here’s the email I sent them:

Dear Sweetwood Children,

I know you’re all scheming to figure out what to get me for Father’s day. Some of you are out of state and can’t make it back to visit with me on that day so you are feeling a particularly heavy obligation to get me a special gift. So let me make it easy on you and tell you exactly what I want you to buy for me.


You know I don’t like junk so don’t buy me anything to hang in the house or place on a table. Dad has become fashionable in his middle-age so, like most real men, I know how to dress myself and pick ties, shoes and shirts better than you guys. I don’t need cologne and I have women friends to buy me that anyway. I don’t wear jewelry and have given up on watches long ago. I am the electronics expert in this family so don’t go there. What I want from you is something that can’t be bought.

You have watched me toil and work for 20 years by myself doing everything I can for you to make your life happy and comfortable and I have done my best to give you the best chance at success – and you all are!

For Father’s Day this year, I would like a note from each of you expressing how you feel about me and your life. I enclose a note your sister Sara sent to me last summer as an example.


Please know that I love you all and everything I do in this life is for you. You are my purpose. Your happiness is enough of a present for me.

Love Always, Dad

Do you agree that this is what every father really wants for Father’s Day?

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4 replies »

  1. Wow, love the way your words affect the heart! You are a survivor with blessed children. Good work dad! God bless you! 🙂

  2. Yes, I do!

    My wife and kids still buy or make me “junk”, but I’m okay with that. I agree with most ALL your comments, but I’ll say that although I am my wife’s fashion consultant, my daughter needs no help to be fashionable whatsoever.

    Actually, I think my wife is putting something together that is very much in line with what you’ve asked of your kids– but, I didn’t even ask specifically for it! I’ll let you know more when Sunday comes, if you like?

  3. that’s nice. they are lucky. I lost my dad just as I graduated college, just as he was only 56, and so I never got to ” be an adult” with him or FOR him…never for to ever express my gratitude and understanding of all he did and sacrificed for us. sadly, I’m left with the ” bratty teenager” memories. I hope your kids read this. 😩

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