Interesting boxes and a cooked breakfast

NO-ONE in my family has mentioned Father’s Day.

This is not a good sign.

I have not caught a secret smile on the faces of my children that says, “I’ve got a secret and you’re going to like it.”

So now I have a dilemma.

Will I lay there tomorrow morning, waiting in vain for the door to burst in and a crowd of kids (I have five), laden with interesting boxes and a cooked breakfast, to cry, “Happy Father’s Day!”

Or will I avoid the embarrassment with a pre-emptive early morning run followed by half a grapefruit at 6am.

Knowing how the natural laws of Never Getting It Right work, my wife will stumble bleary eyed down the stairs and mutter accusingly, “How could you — the children wanted to bring you breakfast in bed!”

They wouldn’t forget, surely?

I mean, the entire Australian world is wall-to-wall Fathers Day. You can’t even go into a funeral parlour without finding a Father’s Day offer.

The problem, though, is that if they’ve seen the adverts, I might end up with something for the car.

Do they hate me that much!

Why is it considered generous and loving to give a dad something to dig the garden, or mend the car, or rebuild the house, but if I give my wife an iron, or a vacuum cleaner, or a set of saucepans I’m an insensitive, self-serving, parsimonious ratbag?

I made it clear this year that I want toys. Or food.

If they need a wheelbarrow to fit it all in I’ll overlook it — just so long as they don’t expect me to wheel it about with earth in it.

A radio-controlled plane would be nice. Or a computer game. As long as it isn’t based on virtual-reality gardening or home renovations.

A holiday somewhere with a spa bath that fits two would be good. And I’ll even take my wife (don’t look at me like that — I’ll be delighted to take my wife).

A wood-turning lathe will make me very suspicious. A wood-turning lathe is what men get when the family has decided they’re over the hill and they need a hobby.

And the last thing I need is a hobby.

I have a hobby. It’s called a family. It’s a thousand times more satisfying than turning out endless wooden candlesticks or bowls.

And a million times more infuriating than trying to fix the car.

But why am I worrying. They’ve forgotten! There’s not even the glimmer of a recognition!

I shall look on the bright side. I won’t have to hug my daughters’ partners. I’ll get a lie‑in that will not be interrupted by a gang of hooligans breaking down the bedroom door. I will not have to be jolly first thing in the morning.

And the injured looks that I shall present to the world through next week will keep me out of the washing up for at least… well, next week.

It is not a big deal. Father’s Day, unlike Mothering Sunday, is an entirely artificial, commercially driven festival designed to sell stuff. Not only is it eminently forgettable, but I would be proud of my children if they have decided not to be sucked into the profit-driven vortex of expressing their affection by giving gifts.

Proud, but very pissed off.