Sunday nights in my house, have for the past 4 years or 5 years, become a tradition – Dad’s Night.  My kids really look forward to it, each week, and get sad on those rare Sundays that we don’t do it (like Easter Sunday or anytime Christmas falls on a Sunday, or we’re out of town) – otherwise Sunday nights are pretty sacred and even company coming over doesn’t change the evening’s agenda as was evidenced today when a friend came over after church and hung out all afternoon and evening with us.   What is so special about it you ask?  It’s completly DAD inspired, DAD prepared, and DAD led.  My wife basically gets the afternoon off to do what she’d like to do.

In  my youth, after my years of working at Disneyland, I ended up getting into an Assistant Manager role for a Domino’s Pizza store, thanks to a bit of nepotism (my brother was the supervisor of the area I was living in at the time).  He was really only filling in for the actual supervisor who was away on his honeymoon, but my brother got me the job nonetheless.  He’d been with DP for about 8 years at that point and had some pull.  I needed a job, so he helped me out.  Thanks to that awesome dude, I ended up working for Domino’s for nearly 8 years myself, working my way up from Assistant Store Manager, through the role as Store Manager of 3 different store locations – then over into Franchise Ops at the Regional Office level, transferring to Corporate Ops again at the Regional level until I was promoted and transferred up to the World HQ facility in Ann Arbor, MI in Corporate Store Development.  All the while – I only made 3 actual pizza deliveries – but I certainly made thousands of pizzas during those years.   Which brings me back to the whole point of this entry.  Tradition – and some pizza.

Sunday night is pizza night – and yes, I do make the pizzas myself.  Each week they’re different.  Sometimes thick crust, sometimes thin, sometimes supreme, sometimes hawaiian, sometimes breakfast pizza.  It doesn’t really matter what kind is served up – it’s the family bonding time that has developed through the years.  I absolutely LOVE that my kids get dejected when they realize pizza isn’t on the menu that night (as my middle son did last week – Easter Sunday).  I make the dough for the crust myself in our breadmaker, pretty much starting it after we get home from church.  Then when that’s done, it finishes the “rising” process in the fridge.  When time to start prepping it, I then shape it and form it the same way I used to in the DP stores (yes, I do toss it in the air even too) and then get them into the oven.  Every week (practically) for the past 4-5 years that has been my Sunday afternoon ritual.  While the pies are in the oven, I then go upstairs to our library to see exactly what will be the visual delight to accompany our meal.

Not only do we have pizza week after week, but we also have used the time to introduce our kids to some great, classic television that they simply wouldn’t see if left to their own devices.  Stuff that I grew up watching.  Stuff that my wife grew up watching.  Stuff that is just too “boring” by today’s standards.  Somtimes moral stories, sometimes just silly stories, but great family entertainment nonetheless.

We don’t watch much television throughout the week – but we do certainly enjoy what began as “DADDY’S NETWORK” thanks to a sizeable collection of “TV on DVD” series sets I’ve purchased through the years.   Classic comedy antics from likes of the Ricardos & the Mertzes; or Sheriff Andy Taylor & his Deputy Barney Fife;  a band of castaways shipwrecked on an uncharted tropical/desert isle;  Mike & Carol Brady, Alice and the rest of the “Bunch”; Mork & Mindy; Cliff & Clair Huxtable;  and Balki & his cousin Larry have filled our living room’s screen for years now.  And we only do them in the same manner that I grew up watching them… one at a time, in broadcast order, and only one episode of 2 or 3 shows per week.  No jumping ahead, and no moving on if all of the family members aren’t present for one reason or another (if that’s the case, then it’s suddenly a “rerun” night and we go back to a previously viewed episode).   Others will  be added in to the rotation soon as an individual series “ends its’ run”.   And it doesn’t just stop at comedy – as classic dramas have been (and are) on my network too – with the likes of both the Ingalls clan and the Walton clan reliving their heartfelt stories of struggle, love and togetherness.   And just as many a female of the 1970’s thought Ponch was a hunk, my sweet daughter thinks Chips is a great show, with some handsome guys riding those motorcycles.

It may not be anything fancy, or costly, and certainly won’t set the world on fire –  but this is one tradition in my family that each of us really looks forward to. Big things, wonderful adventurous things like going to Disneyland or Walt Disney World are fabulous sure, but sometimes it really is the everyday “stuff” we do as Dads that makes the most impact.  What’s a tradition in your house that YOU have inspired, or begun?  Or haven’t begun yet but have been thinking of beginning with your family?  What memories are you trying to make?   What would you love to hear your children tell you about in your old age (or remind you about) that you did “all those years ago” that they found special?

stopher, DIS Dad #86

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