The Quest of Fatherhood: Fun and Avoiding Parasites


Children learn to smile from their parents.

~Shinichi Suzuki

children learn to smile parents

See what I’m teaching my kids?


I’m simply passing on my version of the funny I learned growing up–thanks in big part to my dad.  He is a master at telling a funny story, and watching him, I learned the value in being able to get people to smile, to laugh and to share joy.

And I learned other things.

Growing up, my dad was big on safety.  He made us wear sunscreen (thank you Dad!), and after a sudden stop in the car, he always threw out an arm in front of whoever sat in the passenger seat–even after our car had seat belts.  Plus, he did not allow us out of the house without shoes.

No skipping around barefoot for me.


Because of hookworms.

You see those little suckers could burrow into tender kid soles and make their way up and  . . .  well, I don’t remember the rest.  He had me at hookworm.  It was all I needed to know–and believe me when I tell you, I had the softest, callous-free feet in my neighborhood!

I have done zero research on hookworms, so I cannot tell you if this is true.  The only thing I know for sure is that as a parent, protecting my kids is of utmost importance.  I will never forget the first time my husband and I left our kids home alone.  On one hand it was exciting that they were finally old enough, but as we moved to walk out the door, my husband turned around and said:

No eating! 

Because apparently as I showed my oldest the list of phone numbers, my husband had worst case scenarios running through his mind.  By decreeing no food, he felt he eliminated the choking scenario.


 “There’s a lot of ugly things in this world, son. I wish I could keep ’em all away from you. That’s never possible.”

~Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird


So maybe it’s not possible, but dads will try.  Because like moms, dads like to dispense advice too:


“This is life.  So go and have a ball. Because the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you may not be right for some. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have … my opening statement. Sit, Ubu, sit. Good dog.”

~Peter Griffin, Family Guy


You never want your kids to see you scared. You want to be that rock that they grab a hold of in a stormy sea. Actually, a rock would sink. So a floating rock.

~Phil Dunphy, Modern Family


Dad = floating rock.  Oh, and let’s not forget dads can be FUN:

 “This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun.”

~Clark Griswold, National Lampoon’s Vacation

 father's day dad advice _opt

Me, my dad and one of my sisters.  It’s possible she’s checking the ground for hookworms.




I’d love to know–what is your favorite Father’s day gift to give or get?  

45 thoughts on “The Quest of Fatherhood: Fun and Avoiding Parasites

  1. I always get my Dad golf balls. I don’t even wrap them anymore. He loves them, because they are really GOOD golf balls and he’s the envy of all his golf buddies. And since he plays nearly every day, it’s a great gift he uses. Boring, but great 🙂


  2. Love this post 🙂 I have the greatest dad ever – he loves books, so that’s what I get him – mysteries, thrillers, or history – particularly American Civil War and Lincoln. My husband is also the greatest dad ever and he’s absolutely totally impossible to shop for at all, so we find the funniest cards we can 🙂


  3. Sweet post! My dad’s big on safety, too. The worm story made me giggle and think back to all the times we all got locked out of our own house because door-locking is so ingrained in us—happens involuntarily, whether we have keys in our hands or not. 😉

    My favorite gifts to give and get are those that show the giver knows the receiver well. (My dad is so good at this!) Some of my favorites to give him have been gardening supplies, anything dog-related, music and books. He’s been into baking since retirement, so I sent him a ‘healthy sprout your own grains and bake them’ kit this year.


    1. I agree August, thoughtful gifts are the best. Just knowing someone thought about you is often the best part. And as for locking the door, we’ve ingrained that one in our daughter and she’s locked her keys in her car more than once already! Thankfully my husband and I both carry spares on our key rings 🙂


  4. Hi, Coleen!

    Fab post! You dad sounds a lot like mine, esp. about the arm in front of you in the car thing. Too funny, right?

    As far as hookworms, I was doing research a while back and ran across this health/history of hookworm brochure. Depending on where you grew up, your dad was absolutely right:

    I’ll post it on your Fb wall, too.

    Hope you find it interesting!


  5. Hmm, I don’t know anything about hookworms, but… ewww! That would make me wear shoes, too! Love the pics, especially the caption about your sister. 🙂

    My mom’s birthday is always within a few days of Fathers’ Day, so I get to do combined gifts. Usually, this just means a gift card in a larger amount. But I was talking to my dad on the phone the other day, and he mentioned that he was thinking of getting a Blu-ray/Internet TV box. So I got him and my mom that! I was so excited to have something to wrap, and something I knew they wanted! We celebrated FD early this year due to family vacations, so they are already enjoying the gift. 🙂


  6. I believe I heard the same hookworm story. Dad’s are difficult to shop for. On Mother’s Day, I discovered the ease of sending a photo card from Shutterfly with the grandson all over it. One would have thought I sent my parents a winning lottery ticket. I repeated this trick for Father’s Day. hope you all have a great Father’s Day weekend.


    1. I’ve discovered the power of Shutterfly for grandparents too! I even had my kids make a book for my husband one father’s day–complete with their own writing. Gift gold! 🙂


  7. Aw, great Father’s Day post, Coleen. Lots of great quotes. Gosh, I didn’t realize Chevy Chase was so tall! Your kids are so cute, and they have beautiful smiles. I believe it’s true about hookworms. (I haven’t read the others’ comments. Laptop is acting up today so I’m hoping it will behave.)

    My dad is very hard to buy for. All he wants is a card in the mail with a dollar bill in it. It brings back memories of the thrill he got as a kid and opened a card that had money. Easy to please, huh? He likes the funny cards, too. Like your dad, my dad was a master at telling jokes. He seldom tells jokes anymore, though. 😦


  8. Coleen, what a lovely blog for Father’s Day! Great picture of your kids! Sounds like you had a great Dad. My dad was much too serious, but I remember having a lot of fun with him. He taught me to be really great hardball catcher, to throw a mean frisby, and to build ice igloos. Both my parents passed two years ago, so it feels strange not being able to remember them — except in my heart. One piece of advidce, make sure you ask your parents and grandparents everything about their lives and write it down. There are so many things I wished I’d asked.


    1. Thanks for the reminder Patricia! The older I get, the more curious I am about my parents and grandparents stories. Ironic how I just didn’t think much about it as a kid, when everyone was available.
      Thanks for sharing your memories. Building ice igloos!? That sounds so cool!


  9. Coleen,
    My dad will be annoyed when he opens his present. I got him an at-home blood pressure monitor. (Yeah, I’m the fun child in the family.) He drives to CVS at least once a week to check his blood pressure (doctor’s orders that he take regular readings), and, at 89 years old next month, he doesn’t need the hassle of traffic.


  10. LOL!

    Can I go with my Grandfather who rocked?

    He told me to never trust a man with a moustache (it hides a weak mouth apparently).
    Never trust a man who’s late for a date.
    Never trust words, trust actions.
    Never trust a man who puts his left sock on before his right. (That one confused me for a while because how would I know this?)

    And many more. I remember paddling in the freezing waters of the Irish Sea with Hugo and watching with great interest which sock he’d put on first. The right one. There you go!


  11. Your sister is precious in that picture. My father was really protective as well. Although I don’t recall the hookworm coming up. I do remember my grandmother never allowing me outside without my shoes. My grandparents used to bicker about that. LOL. I dated a guy once who had been raised to always put his arm up when having to stop hard in a car. Need I tell you how awkward that turned out? He wasn’t even looking where he put his hand. He was staring out the front window. It was rather funny, after the fact.


  12. Love the quotes, Family Guy and Modern Family are two of my favorites! Yes, it’s true about hookworms, nasty thought, huh? Great post, made me smile and think of Dad, he’s been gone two years now. Thanks Coleen! 🙂


  13. Love this column.
    Wait, haven’t I said that about every one of your blog posts, Coleen?
    Went out shopping for my husband’s Father’s Day Gift tonight. It was decreed by the kiddos that good ol’ Dad needed a new grill. And they were right!
    One of our favorite things to do as a family is grill out … never mind that our Lab chewed through one of the lines on the grill the day we bought it home so that handy-dandy side cooking space was never used. Never mind that the auto-start button is long-gone and we have to light the thing manually. Never mind that the knobs are rusted …
    Yeah, time for a new grill.
    And we found one on sale!
    So, guess what we’re doing for Father’s Day?


  14. I remember the moment on the airplane when I described my stipulations for having children and my college friend said, “So you want to be a dad.” I would love to be a dad.


  15. My Dad is a bit of a wheeler dealer, which was what I’ve always adored about him.

    I was born with a malformed foot. Dad had bad feet, too — but in his case, it was the result of a long-ago injury. Anyway, when I was a kid, he and I were in a group called the Indian Guides and, for some God-forsaken reason, our tribe was required to march in a parade.

    As I pointed out, he and I weren’t built for marching, so, on the day of the parade, that silver-tongued devil somehow wangled the entire tribe onto a parade float. So not only didn’t we have to walk, we were now trusted with hurling the much-coveted “parade float candy” at the crowd. As everyone knows, candy throwers are the heroes of any parade. And, on that day, my Dad was a certainly hero to me.



  16. Loved this post, Coleen! I was in the family that didn’t allow barefeet outside either! A bunch of other kids ran around barefoot, but I had a healthy fear of stepping on a rusty nail or a fireant bed or whatever would have caused horrendous pain and damage to my sweet feet. I don’t remember what the specific reason was; I just had the fear of God hammered in me that bare feet = horror. I do appreciate how protective my father was in that regard. Happy Father’s Day!


  17. Happy Father’s Day to all the great dad’s out there. My dad is about to start a job in another state, so tomorrow is the last time I’ll see him for a long time. I look forward to spending time with him!


  18. Whether you’re expecting your first child or your kids are grown and on their own, being a dad is a new experience. When my wife was pregnant, we decided to have a homebirth. We hired a doula and two midwives. I won’t tell you how much it cost. According to them and other experts, labor was going to last 10-12 hours. My son had other plans. My wife’s labor was so short that the only other person in the room when he was born was – guess who? – me. After nine months of preparing to support my wife in the birth of my first child, there I was, with no medical training, serving as midwife, doula, and doctor. I fought off the strong desire to run out of the room as fast as possible. When I caught Joaquin, I experienced pure exhilaration and love. ,’

    Look at all of the most current piece of writing on our own web site


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