Happy Thursday everyone.
Just when I was thinking about how different things are these days… I realized some things seem to keep up no matter what.
Case in point: Our kids are growing up in a house with “Dad’s Chair“.
The Good Old Days
Dad’s chair was part of both sides of our family.
In Worthington, Minnesota, my dad had a chair and across town Phil’s dad had a chair.
All four of our grandpa’s – in Rushmore, in Sibley, in Heron Lake, and in New Sweden – had their own designated chair, too.
And, I can still picture all those chairs – the green naugahyde La-Z-Boy, the big brown recliner that swiveled, and the leather recliner that would collapse if you sat on the foot part.
Grandpa Dekker would sit back with his black socks on his feet (and he’d always ask to have his socks stretched away from his toes) and then he’d cross his ankles while he watched TV.
Grandpa Jessen would fall asleep in his chair all the time and he was always snoring like crazy.
I can’t imagine my dad in his chair without his work uniform on and his monogramed “Bill” above his left breast pocket
Coming in from the farm, the town, or the gas company.. they’d end the day in their chair.
To read the paper.
So, I suppose it’s not that far-fetched for Phil and I to keep the tradition – though I know we never consciously said, “Let’s make that one the dad-chair”.
Dad’s Chair Version 2.0
Every evening after work, Phil sits here and reads the Star Tribune cover to cover.
When he’s finished, he hands me the cartoon section and waits to see how long it takes for me to “get” Argyle Sweater.
That happens every day. (The reading the paper part – not the part about me understanding Argyle Sweater.)
I’ve tried to add some little touches to the space around his chair to make it more enjoyable for him.
There’s a bin for his old papers and a little stool on the right for his coffee.
Here’s the little official sign I made for him about his favorite radio show – which he listens to on Saturday mornings.
FYI: I tried to get him to wear headphones – so the kids could watch cartoons in the kitchen – but no luck.
We tiptoe through the kitchen while Phil sits and listens to guys talk about sports on the crackling radio.
Recently, I added a power strip for charging devices.
As it turns out, Phil’s chair is a great spot for device time outs.
When the kids need a tech break – all devices are safely guarded in the storage ottoman by Phil… until he takes a nap.
(Then we may need to have a chat about not taking a device out of time out when Dad is sleeping.)
Everything in its place
Phil’s chair is part of our family routine.
Every month, I put the credit card bill – or any other important snail mail – on the cushion of the chair for Phil to find when he gets home.
During the school year, the kids will put their grades in the basket by the chair.
When the time comes, Phil will click on the floor lamp for an extra good report card inspection and begin to read through the grades aloud. The kids stand beside him ready to answer any question – and highlight all the good parts.
Sometimes when Phil is on a long business trip, I’ll just send him a photo of his little corner of the house.
It’s my way of saying “We’ve kept your spot ready for you, honey. And, we miss you.“
I don’t remember Phil having a chair before kids. (But, since kids I don’t remember much!)
Here’s Phil in his chair with Emma and PJ back in 2003.
This photo is from February 2006. It was John’s baptism day (he’s being held by his godfather, Bruce).
When they’re grown, the kids will look through these photos (on a screen of some sort) and they’ll say, “There’s Dad’s old chair. Remember that?“
And someday, I hope our boys have a chair of their own – a place for a Dad to recharge and connect with his family.