Updated: Jun 16, 2020
Target is not my favorite place.
I know, I know, there are moms who survive their kids’ very young years by making trips to Target—a place for toddlers to toddle when it’s snowy outside, a cool escape when the heat becomes unbearable—it’s just not my jam. The florescent lights, the aisles and aisles of overpriced “goods”, and so many times I have gone there looking for X and X was not there.
Last week was no different. Having unsuccessfully visited the Goodwill hoping to find a certain Father's Day item(rescuing said item from the landfill and giving it a second go-round in our house), we trekked across town to Target to try our luck there.
This was my first time running errands with both kids since the pandemic brought us the stay-at-home order, and it was a little like running a three legged race when one partner has forgotten how to walk. There was just a lot of confusion about who gets out of the car through which door, when exactly I lock all the doors and hold everyone’s hands, and how we cross the parking lot together. Nothing makes me more nervous than kids in parking lots.
It feels like herding cats...
through the dog pound...
and all the cages are potentially unlocked.
We finally made it to the store, making sure to use the automatic door to avoid touch the door handles, we weaved in and out of shoppers, trying our best to social distance as a tribe of three. We were half-way through the store when I realized my seven year old had forgotten her mask. She slapped both hands over her mouth and looked at me guiltily. Oh well. Let’s just get in, get our goods and get out of here!
We made it to the section where we expected to find our special gift and there it was—on display and even reasonably priced! Of course, when we looked below the display for our very own version to take home with us, wrap with a bow and call it a done deal—there were none. Not even the over-priced variety, just empty shelves.
Another Target fail.
So let’s all just skip it: the drive, the kids who have forgotten regular rules and the new rules, the empty shelves, etc. My goal here is to save you from a waste-of-time foray into the madness of errand running with children in the time of the pandemic. Let’s think outside the big box and see what we can come up with this year. Here are a few ideas:
1) Make Fudge
Turns out, it’s super easy and tastes amazing: perfect both for those chocolate loving dads and for their kiddos who love to get messy in the kitchen. The easiest recipes call for sweetened condensed milk, but there are recipes out there if you don't have any on hand.
2) Print and Frame a Special Picture
Get out that box of extra frames in the closet or choose a frame that’s already out but needs an update and fill it with a favorite picture of daddy with the kiddos from a special moment this past year. I love ordering my pictures from Mpix because the quality and the colors are so superior to local labs like Walgreens or Costco, without an unreasonable price point.
3) Make a Special Craft
This is a great year to decide a simple, homemade gift says “I love you” as much as that item we couldn’t find at Target. Consider helping the kids make a craft for daddy, like a sculpture you harden in the oven or help them transform their most awesome drawing into a special keepsake or pillow.
4) Capture the Love
Of course, I couldn’t let the holiday slip by without recommending the gift of family portraits. That special connection between fathers and their young kids—so full of tickles and giggles, teasing and wrestling—should be captured before it’s too late. They will both change and grow, there will be rough patches, ups and downs, but images that capture that deep, deep love can help anchor that relationship and remind both your children and their daddy of what matters most.
This is a weird year. We’re finding new ways of doing and celebrating, loving and caring, and it’s not all bad. Sometimes we need a little challenge to help shake things up and see things in a new way.
I hope this Father’s Day is a special one in your home, in whatever way you find to celebrate it.