So, here's the thing...I'm married.
There are lots of of different types of marriages, but I happen to be in one of those where I don't have much to say about anything. It's gotten to the point where when my wife asks me what I think about something...for example, where I want to eat on date night...I say something snarky like "why are you even asking me my opinion?"
After 13 years I'm heavily conditioned, but not so much that I've given up on figuring out how to get what I want when I actually do have an opinion or need something, and at the same time avoid unnecessary conflict.
One of those very skilled areas of communication is how to set expectations around The Schedule.
For me, this weekend will involve training in the mountains with dudes to prep for a mountaineering commitment in July. I'll be home Sunday for Father's Day dinner with the fam, but on any other overnighter, or happy hour, or short ride, or hike, etc. this conversation would happen:
Wife: "When will you be home, sweetheart?"
Me: "I'm not sure, why?"
Wife: "I want to know what time you'll be around so I can fill in the blank here..."
Now, this is a completely reasonable question. However, it's an unintended trap. It's a trap because if I happen to give a time frame here I've just locked myself in. I'm now obligated to be back by that time.
In my case, historically, I very rarely make that time. I'm great at beginning the adventure on time, but I can't seem to end it on time. I don't know why, but that's how it always goes. I underestimate something, and I'm all of a sudden very late. Shit comes up, and then I'm super stressed to get home!
This is often interpreted as "you make every effort to be on time for the things you care about, but you're never on time when it's a commitment to me." Note: avoid this.
Again, I'm learning. The more seasoned me will respond with "Just go ahead and don't count on me for dinner. I'll figure it out for myself, and that way you don't have to worry about it." Easy enough, right? Thing is, I still fall into the damn trap!
Any other Father's Day would have likely involved a day with my family, and without a plan. Spontaneous decisions all day like "let's go out to breakfast," or "let's go do a bike ride," or "it's noon and I think I'm going to drink a beer." No obligations...
Instead, this year I'll be hiking mountains with dudes, donning my dudedad shirt, coin in my pack...family in my heart.
So, dear sweet wife of mine, thank you for asking me what I want for Father's Day. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for allowing me to get away to do something I need, and love to do. I love you for that. And although I you didn't make me feel obligated, I will be home for dinner!