This might be the first Father’s Day I truly understood.
Maybe I missed one or two over the years, but that’s it. I’ve always been present, with presents. Well, at least a card. A card that was bought the morning of at the grocery.
This past weekend I came home to do just that. Spend time with my parents and celebrate Father’s Day.
We had a typical weekend visit. Dinners out, fun errands, and a movie. Lots of relaxing and sleeping in.
On Friday night I mentioned that I’d like to wash my car while I was home. I live in a condo in Chicago and have none of the equipment to do this. I don’t even know where the hose it at our building. In seven years I haven’t seen anyone washing their car in the parking lot. We have a place just around the corner that does the whole thing by hand for $7.
But since I drive maybe one day a week, and keep my car under a cover, I don’t really think often about cleaning the outside.
I was home about a month ago and my dad talked me into washing the car. We normally just take it through a carwash, but he thought it might be fun to do ourselves. We even applied a coat of wax. By the way, the whole process takes only about twenty minutes. It’s remarkably easy, and less effort than I remember.
This morning we washed both his and my cars. Not a huge deal, and first we did mine. Then we shifted to his. Probably spent forty minutes total.
Afterwards I went inside to check Twitter or something, and my dad said, “I just wanted to say thank you for helping wash the car.” You could hear some real gratitude in his voice.
I was puzzled as I really didn’t help him do anything. We both washed the cars. Same effort as if we had washed his own.
So that was the reality of the situation. I hadn’t helped him do anything. But in his mind, I had performed a great act of selflessness. And on Father’s Day to boot!
I decided to cook for lunch and had been preparing chicken shawarma from the night before. Neither of my parents had eaten it before, and, while an easy dish, did take some prep.
Everyone liked the meal and they thanked me. My dad said once again how much he was grateful that I helped wash the car.
So while he was appreciative that I cooked lunch, it was clear to me that the car washing was the best thing I could have done today. I’m sure there are other things I haven’t yet discovered that really mean a lot to him, but at least I know one surefire way to make my dad feel good.
The next time I visit home I may just blow his mind. Wake up at 5am and go out and wash his car. When he wakes and sees what I did, he will simultaneously make a fiery BM and collapse in a puddle of tears. Great photo op.