By Aaron Traister, REDBOOK
I think celebrating Father's Day is sort of silly, but my wife Karel is totally into it, so who am I to pass up a holiday where I'm the focus of the attention? Every year, Karel asks me what special thing I want or need to recharge my patriarchal batteries for the next 364 days. And every year, I find myself wanting diametrically opposed things. These contradictions illustrate the choices that dads make every day-between careless, youthful fun and responsible behavior that makes your life easier and better in the long term. For example:
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1a. I want to sleep late and catch up on some desperately needed shut-eye.
1b. I want to wake up early and pack as much into the day as possible. I could get up before the sun and drive out to the country to paint and still be home in time to have the rest of my day (okay, maybe just an hour or two of sunlight) in front of me. I never get a chance to do that anymore.
2a. I want to go for a long run. As an adult, I've learned that running clears my mind and makes me feel healthy, which in turn makes me feel younger.
2b. I want to smoke a bunch of cigarettes. I love smoking and I don't do it that often anymore. I'll have a ton of fun doing it because it makes me feel younger, too, but I'll feel rotten and very old for the rest of the week.
3a. I want to spend quality time with my family.
3b. I want a day off from my family. Part of me wants to celebrate what a responsible father I am by not being a responsible father all day.
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4a. I want to kick back at home and grill, listen to a ball game and drink a beer while the kids run around like maniacs.
4b. I want to escape my house and children-maybe even forget I have a house and children-and go out for a date with just my wife at restaurant that doesn't bring crayons to the table when you sit down.
5a. I want to have uninterrupted time to get things done around the house without kids or wife slowing me down.
5b. I don't want to think for one second about working on the house.
6a. I'd like to not have a hangover bothering me on Father's Day so I can be 100% present with my family.
6b. I'd like to get a little drunk the night before in anticipation of being able to sleep late (if I choose option 1a).
7a. I'd like to have some sex.
7b. I'd like to have some sex.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.