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Apodaca: Dad's role is just as important as Mom's

June 16, 2012|By Patrice Apodaca

Retailers seem to lump their helpful suggestions into a few basic categories: sports, electronics, products for the improvement of men's scent and fashion sense, and stuff for the barbecue. (I'd throw in books, but advertisements typically promote mainly books about sports and grilling.) Funny how we never see tips about opera tickets that Dad might love.

Over the years, I've mined just about every variation of these themes imaginable. I can now proudly state that my dear father-in-law has a closet stuffed with golf shirts and more grilling doo-dads than he knows what to do with.

My husband doesn't fare much better. Our sons, who inevitably suffer brain overload from their school final exams, which are always scheduled right around Father's Day, usually resort to a box of golf balls and a hastily composed computer-generated card. It's the thought that counts, right?

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It might be tempting for some of us moms to suggest that Father's Day is a second-string holiday for good reason. We could bring up that whole pain-of-childbirth thing again.

I could also use the occasion to remind my husband about the time when I was down with a nasty case of flu, and I asked him to supervise the nightly bath of our then 3-year-old. Shoulders slumped, he trudged to the bathroom, paused, turned around, and asked, "So, how do you do it?"

Oh, but it would be petty of me to bring up such instances of male cluelessness. In truth, my husband and all other loving, caring, committed fathers are due their day every bit as much as mothers.

I might have been the expert on bath time, but it was my husband who coached, played catch, planned outings to sporting events, and went on Indian Guide campouts. He has worked hard to give our boys a secure home and opportunities, and he has always encouraged them to set the bar high for achievement. They will be better men because they have a dad who loves them unreservedly.

This Father's Day, we are attending our son's commencement ceremony at UCLA, and afterward we're celebrating with family members. College graduation is a monumental, once-in-a-lifetime event, and the focus will be on our son. Dad will get short shrift once again.

But perhaps that's exactly how it should be. What better way to honor a father than to recognize his child's success? What better Father's Day gift could there be? How happy my husband will be in knowing that his boy is a college graduate, and that he'll enjoy a short reprieve from tuition payments before our younger son starts college.

It sure beats another box of golf balls.

PATRICE APODACA is a Newport-Mesa public school parent and former Los Angeles Times staff writer. She is also a regular contributor to Orange Coast magazine. She lives in Newport Beach.

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