This morning was our NYC Dads Group 2nd annual holiday party extravaganza. Well, maybe "extravaganza" is a bit much - no streamers, decorations, clowns, music, free swag bags (although it would be gladly appreciated)...come on, we are just a bunch of regular dads who care more about getting together for conversation and socialization than anything else.
Our holiday party was more about the camaraderie - 16 dads trekking from all parts of NYC (and NJ) on this frigid day to spend the morning together at a member's indoor playspace. Rich & Sean were awesome hosts. Picture dads hanging out with their kids & sitting around on the floor of a playroom. Having meaningful conversations ranging from pre-schools, children's progress, fantasy football, the Knicks loss to the Celts, holiday plans, ski trips, anxiety of going back to work after being an at-home dad, moving to a new city, ideas for future activities, welcoming some first time members, and soaking in the relaxed environment that made our job of being involved parents this morning so much fun!
Communities of mothers have probably done stuff like this for decades - relaxed indoor playdates. For fathers, this is probably newer territory, but we are fools if we dont seek out opportunities to make it happen more frequently. Our dads group (with our kids) spend so much time together engaging in music, movement, art, gym, and sports classes, that sometimes it is nice to shed the structured activity and dive into self-exploration in a large and safe playroom with endless possibilities. For example, there were blocks, mini-kitchens, cars, trains, books, etc. However, my son found it more entertaining to open and close the door to the playroom 250 times or constantly listen to the "clank" as he bounced the foosball on the marble floor to be the most exciting - so be it. He had such a blast running around after his little toddler and baby friends that he is napping like a champ as I get to recount the wondrous moments about this morning's dad gathering.
Dads baked cookies and cupcakes, brought bagels and rolls, and mostly everyone participated in a book exchange. Basically, you bring a children's book (preferably one of the favorites of your child) and exchange it with another father. I left the holiday playdate inspired to be a member of such a wonderful group. The group is a resource for me - a social outlet, a source of information, a safe place to bounce off parenting ideas or frustrations - it assists and supports me to be a better dad! Thanks NYC Dads Group!