Everyone knows I abhor sentimentality, so I'll make this brief.  

I've alluded to some struggles we've had this year and if I've made mine sound in any way bigger or more profound than his, I've been self-centered and guilty of the same navel-gazing everyone claimed bloggers are subject to in the last decade.  In fact, many of the dilemmas I've grappled with recently are in trying to figure out just how to support him and make his life a little easier and the trouble is I'm either not doing a very good job or I just can't.

For Mother's Day I got this:

A barbed wire cactus to hang on the wall.  There is a long history to this cactus and how I tried for years to get The KoH to steal one from a Mexican restaurant we frequent and he was too damn ethical to grab it while I distracted the owner with my good looks and poorly pronounced Spanish.  Then I tried to get him to buy it and he actually did try many times and each time the owner refused, saying it was simply not for sale and he couldn't even sell it to customers like us who supported his restaurant for years, but then a few years later, we went in for dinner and the cactus was gone and we asked about it and the owner said, "Oh some customer wanted to buy it so I sold it to him," and I was like, "NOOOOOOOOooooooooo."

So The KoH found a bale of barbed wire when he traveled back to Nevada this Spring and packed it IN HIS SUITCASE and brought it back, then made this for me  in the basement the night before Mother's Day.  Best. Gift. Ever.  Also: suck it, Mexican Restaurant Owner.

(Just kidding; I still love that guy even though he gave away my cactus.)

The other thing I got for Mother's Day was a croquet set we could use to teach the Shortlings to play Extreme Monster Croquet.  This is a game invented during my internship with my fellow interns and housemates wherein the course usually took up the entire neighborhood and had so many obstacles and non-traditional turns, you needed a map to follow it and could often take your life in your hands to get from one gate to the next.  Then we'd argue vociferously about whether this person went through the gate the correct direction before the car almost ran over it and if that person properly jumped the stream before sending that other person's ball forty yards out into the front lawn of the mental hospital and every game would end like this:

Our Mothers Day croquet tournament took it easy on the Shotlings, but we made sure to include at least a few proper course hazards.

The sharp left turn required after this gate made it acceptable, but only just.

The fact that The KingofHearts knows me well enough to know that these two gifts were better than any Mother's Day bunch of flowers or candy says quite a lot about how much better he is at marriage than I.  I don't know if I have a better gift for him this year than many of these things, but I tried.  If I could give him anything, it would be a break from all the nonsense he's had to deal with this season.

I don't think most of us fully appreciate the depth of influence fathers can have on their children and families and perhaps that's because many dads simply don't try to do so.  But you know who does try?  This guy: 

Every day, he is an active participant in our lives and quite honestly, that alone is more than a lot of people get.  He reads to them.  He listens to them read to him.  He packs lunches.  He does chores around the house.  He fixes things when they break.  He worries about their social, emotional and educational development every bit as much as I do.  And yay for him for being a partner in all that.  But he's also fun to be around: funny, sweet, creative, smart and more supportive than he usually gets credit for.  I tease him a lot for his obsessive benders, but the truth is I only do that because I know he can be a good sport about it and I don't mind his obsessions so much; I'm glad he is interested in things (though I wouldn't mind getting back that three years of my life where every discussion had to have a fishing metaphor in it).  

Today he will be attending a dance recital because that's when The Caterpillar's studio scheduled it (I know, RIGHT?!?) and while I know he'll enjoy the five minutes she'll be on stage, I know the other two hours of the program while other peoples' kids dance, he'd rather be somewhere else.  But he will go and he will sit there because I refuse to be those parents who get up and leave in the middle of a performance because their kid has already gone on and they're no longer interested.  And he'll do it without complaint because that's what a Dad does.  OK, he might complain a little... ok a lot... but he's gonna go of his own free will and choice... -ish.

So Happy Fathers Day to one and all.  You aren't lucky enough to have this guy in your life, but your dad is probably good too.