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“What would you like to do for Father’s Day this year?” My wife asked, knowing full well what the answer would be.
“Brunch at a nice restaurant sounds good.” I jokingly replied.
“Oh, yes, do you want to try Le Kitchen? I’ve also heard nice things about Café Dining Room but it’s hard to get reservations,” she chuckled.
“Both sound great. But let’s try Cochon de la Patio since the weather is going to be so nice.” We were going nowhere and we both knew this.
Father’s Day will mark our 108th day of Corona Lockdown with two energetic elementary school-aged kids. For that reason alone, it will be unlike any Father’s Day that preceded it. In the past, we might have gone to brunch at our favorite vegan restaurant or on a picnic in one of the many amazing state parks around Ithaca. This year, we’re staying home. We’re going nowhere.
Home for the 108th day
School ended on June 17th so there are no more worksheets or kids’ Zoom sessions with their teachers’ instruction colliding with our own work schedules and endless Zoom sessions. From here on out, until probably early October, it’s just the four of us and our new cat.
For the 108th day.
If you had told me 109 days ago that 108 days later we’d still be under a stay-at-home order, I wouldn’t have believed you. The last time we spent time with other families and friends (and kids) was our 7-year-old’s birthday; hosted at an indoor pool the day before the shutdown.
So, what does Father’s Day have in store for our vegan family this year?
Sleeping in: Not an option
Of course, sleeping in isn’t an option (see kids referenced above). In fact, there really isn’t an escape at all nowadays. I’ve built a basement “panic room” where I lock myself when I have important meetings, calls to take, or just need silence. Even the bathroom isn’t safe.
Maybe I’ll attempt a walk around the block waving at the other families, peering out between their Venetian blinds, also in lockdown mode. This year it’s really all about family and the kids so we plan to make the best of it.
Our Father’s Day 2020 plan: Start off with a homemade tofu scramble wrap and air-fried tater tots dipped into a gourmet blend of ketchup and vegan mayo. A Chemex full of single-origin Ethiopian coffee sipped while staring at the same ten rooms we’ve been staring at for 108 days.
15.4 weeks. Did I mention it’s been 108 days?
Weather permitting, I’ll try to sneak away for a nap in our new hammock (which, most likely will be snuck up on and flipped over by the boy). If I’m lucky, I may get to mow the lawn.
Lunch will be served around 1:00 and will likely include grilled Beyond burgers and Beyond sausages which are stretching our shopping budget beyond reason as well as stretching my belt beyond any reasonable restraint. But I can always take comfort in knowing these foods are more heart-healthy than their meat alternatives…right? I’ll request french fries and gravy since it’s Father’s Day, after all. And a salad dressed with our vegan version of our favorite Olive Garden dressing. Maybe a Mango Peach seltzer water (I am in party mode, after all).
It’s all about the food
Is it obvious that meals have become our one way to deal with the monotony of lockdown?
So, finally, it’s dinner time. I’ll probably whip up the kids’ favorite soup from The Great Life Cookbook. Then, we’ll all start winding down for the evening. I’ll realize I should call my dad…but probably won’t.
I’ll text all my father friends and wish them a happy Father’s Day, remembering how long it’s been since we’ve been in the same room. After that, I’ll make my way to the living room to watch another Pixar animated movie; counting the hours until the kids are asleep (which always takes longer than I’d hope). I might actually have an hour or two to myself before passing out.
Father’s Day 2020 will be spent with kids. Eating. Doing chores. And watching the clock until it reads 8:00 pm — that’s when the kids finally go to sleep. But, for other reasons, Father’s Day 2020 will be different.
This is the year I am grateful we are all healthy. I’ll look back and realize my own untapped potential as a school teacher (not always successful but always with heart). This is the year we will all look back and never forget how we were all part of something as important as flattening the curve. This is the year we were all coming together.
Father’s Day 2020 is one for the history books.
Eric C Lindstrom is the Director of Marketing for Animal Outlook, the co-host of Animal Outlook’s Vegan Family Podcast, and the author of The Skeptical Vegan and The Smart Parent’s Guide to Raising Vegan Kids. He lives in the Finger Lakes region of New York with his vegan wife, two vegan kids, and black cat, Dubu. Shopping for father’s day on Amazon this year? Be sure to choose Animal Outlook as your Amazon Smile donation recipient.