I had a pretty special childhood. I grew up on a small family farm in Southeastern Washington. The soundtrack of my childhood was the rumble of diesel farm equipment, the sound of cows mooing in the pasture, and the rhythmic slap of irrigation sprinklers dousing crops with water.
It was also special because my dad was rarely more than ten minutes from the house. From the little house where I spent my first nine years or so, I could look out into the fields and could sometimes see my dad out on the tractor plowing, disking, planting, and maintaining the fields. There was always the telltale cloud of dust and circling seagulls that accompanied the old John Deere tractors wherever they went.
Some of my earliest memories are climbing up into one of those big (to a young boy) tractors, my dad putting the armrest down, and then sitting beside him for hours while he worked in the fields. The tractor would roar steadily, the AM radio would drone endlessly, and the equipment the tractor was pulling would clank and rattle as we made our way across the fields one pass as a time. For a little boy, the roar of a tractor engine is like a lullaby and I would often end up falling asleep with my head on my Dad’s shoulder.
My Dad took me out in the fields with him. He’d sometimes get me up early so that I could go with him to the coffee shop before the work day started. He took me on trips to town to buy parts for farm equipment. Sometimes those trips to town would end with Blizzards at Dairy Queen.
Those were my daddy dates growing up. Now, looking back at them as a dad myself and with my own little boys, I want my boys to get to experience things like that.
I don’t have tractors or a farm. I have a job that often pulls me away from my family for extended periods of time. So our daddy dates look a little different than a trip to town to buy tractor parts or a few hours on the combine. But the big thing they have in common is time. And to a little boy (speaking from experience) few things in life are as valuable or will have the lasting impact of a daddy willing to spend time with his son.
It’s kind of funny though, how some of my daddy dates mirror the time my Dad spent with me. I take Liam to my coffee shop (Dunkin Donuts). Sometimes we’ll go to Dairy Queen and get a Blizzard together. The other day he ran an errand with me to buy new running shoes.
Would it be easier and more relaxing to go by myself? Sure. But the most valuable currency I have to give to my boys is my time. And now I get to enjoy watching my Dad spend time with my boys on those all too rare occasions when we can all get together. From fishing/swimming in the river to rides on the lawn mower, my Dad continues to invest in my boys with the same valuable currency that he invested in me: time.