Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, MN


And in the end,
it’s not the years in your life that count.
It’s the life in your years.

— Abraham Lincoln

You can give your dad ties, shirts and robes, but, in the end, what really matters is time spent well.  On home turf together, disruptions abound with ringing telephones and favorite programs on television; let’s not forget that growing chore list.

A day-tripping experience allows the opportunity to unwind, enjoy and rejigger.*  Whether you have a terrific relationship with dad or terrible, or, perhaps, falling somewhere in between, a visit to a museum, a  park or special event takes the focus off dialoging about hot topics and boring chitchat, and instead magnifies the splendor of the fleeting moments.  Growing up, day trips were the farthest thing from my over-worked and over-committed dad’s mind.  However, well into my 40s, from the day the family received his emphysema diagnosis to the day he died, four years later, I made it a point to be one hundred percent “there” for him in the waning years.  “There” meaning deliberately employing an overkill of patience, tolerance and anything to steer away from non-confrontational moods that could have ruined our limited time together. 

What this experience taught me, and what I try to bring forth into my day trips, is to relax and, yes, just enjoy the moment.  How?  Okay, back to dad.  Many times, we would be stationary like at the doctor’s office or waiting for the senior citizen bus.  I would concentrate on his breathing, which was easy to do because he utilized an oxygen tank.  So we would sit.  He would breathe.  I would listen.  In this precise orchestra, without word or gesture, we found each other in a spirit of love, because, as it’s been said before, love is in the moment.

So, here’s an idea for a Father’s Day gift.  Buy a few tickets to the museum.  There are, too, some pretty interesting things to do this holiday like Bullwhips in the Open field at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, an 11-acre park in Minnesota, located near the Walker Art Center.  Regardless of where you go or what you do, just feel your dad next to you; appreciate the wonder of your breath and his breath, think about how they synchronize without any effort at all.  Realize that this is love, naturally and fully, as close as you can build a pathway to heaven on earth.

Happy Father’s Day.

*  “Quietly but noticeably over the past year, Americans have rejiggered their lives to elevate experiences over things. Because of the Great Recession, a recent New York Times/CBS News poll has found, nearly half of Americans said they were spending less time buying nonessentials, and more than half are spending less money in stores and online,” In Recession, Americans Doing More, Buying Less; NYT, January 2, 2010.