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Dinner With Dad And Dinner (For You) on Me & Outback Steakhouse

Considering this past Sunday was Father's Day you may or may not be wondering why the blog has been so quiet. Sure, if you're one of the many who live over on my Facebook Page you know I've been chattering away about this and that. Here and there I mentioned my son turning 16, but that's it. And with good reason.

My Father's Day was a disaster. The stuff of movies. The only difference being it wasn't funny. At least not to me. I never got angry. By mid afternoon I was sad, by evening I was disappointed, by the time I closed my eyes that night I was disillusioned.

I've worked through all this and am in a place where I can write about it. Look for it next week. Just to you a hint of what to expect: a wrecked car (mine) that I wasn't driving, a flaming bag of nothing and some regular old pasta with meat sauce...

But as DAD I don't have the luxury of wallowing in my own despair. The next day was my son's birthday. Since marrying into this family all of my days seem to be trumped by others --- my son's birthday is either the day before, on or after Father's Day and my mother-in-law's birthday is one week after mine (as is my wedding anniversary) and my wife's birthday is two weeks before mine. Now you may be sitting thinking, well the more the merrier! More reasons to have fun, more partying, more gifts...

Yeah...not really. In my case it always comes down to doing what makes the most sense and what makes the most sense is shortchanging the one who will understand that it's about cost effectiveness, time management, doing the most for the people who are least likely to understand, so He who "gets it"....truly gets it (in every position imaginable).

But enough about me.

The day after what I affectionately refer to as the Father's Day Fiasco of 2011, my son turned 16. Nearly six-foot-two-inches and slated to be a Junior in high school this fall I simply can't believe he is almost ready to leave home to go to college. It was just yesterday that he was the same age as my daughter is now, just as funny, just as entertaining, just as filled with light. He's still a bright light, a personable young gent, but he's a teen and those of you with teens out there know what I mean.

I don't even remember turning 16, but my wife wanted to make a big deal out of the day for him just like she did when he was 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 9, 8, and 6. Yes, I believe she skipped one year in there. We're in a bit of a financial bind right now and she was convinced it couldn't happen. But since the dawn of this "new economy" I've made one single pledge I've thankfully been able to back up 100% - "My children will not suffer."

Using my own Father's Day gift money that the few aunts and uncles who still believe I'm a child sent me, I ran errands all day, buying balloons, cupcakes, cards, and an iPhone case (the one he wants currently is unavailable to us because of carrier nonsense). The case was my "IOU" to you --- something that I knew he would appreciate as much as the gift itself. He's a lover of meat and pork despite my best efforts to promote healthy eating around the house. Besides he's not a bad kid so if he wants to rebel with food, I'm not mad at that.

Outback Steakhouse quickly came to mind. We piled into the wife's car (as I was unable to even look at mine sitting battered and bruised in our garage) and headed to a location not far from our new home in the ATL. It was a balmy Monday evening filled with a breeze that comforted us all as we sat and ate in the outside dining area. My son had ribs and steak, my wife had ribs and chicken, my daughter thought she wanted ribs but in the end wanted chicken fingers and I had a nicely prepared piece of salmon and a large glass of sangria to take the edge off. I sat there watching my family --- my son opening his cards and genuinely appreciating what was being given to him; my daughter coloring away furiously on her kids' menu and my wife's skin glowing from the rays of the setting sun. And in that moment I was blessed, happy that I could make it happen for my family despite the odds that currently face us, blessed that despite it all we have happiness rather than hopelessness. Sure we could be doing more and we could have more, but when I look back on these tough times (and I will be looking back from a better place), I will always have fondness in my heart, because I will know I never gave in and my family remained beautiful and unscathed because of it.

Thanks to the gifts that have been given to me I'd like to give something to one you: An Outback Steakhouse Dinner with Dad Experience - a $45 gift certificate towards dinner with you and the family (not including alcohol, tax and tips, otherwise known as gratuities).

But there are a couple things I'd like you to do for me in order to be entered to win.

  1. Like the post Sweet 16.
  2. Write here in the comments section of this post of a time or instance when you overlooked or turned a bad/not so great situation into a great one for you and your family.
  3. Like Outback Steakhouse on Facebook at Facebook.com/Outback, OR Follow Outback Steakhouse on Twitter at Twitter.com/Outback

You must do each of the above 3 items listed above to be entered to win. The contest begins as of the posting of this article and ends at 11:59pm on June 30th, 2011. You must be 18 and older to enter and a resident of the USA. On July 1, a random drawing will be made based off your entries in the comments below.

Thanks for reading and supporting as always. Good Luck!

Disclosure: I did receive a complimentary $45 gift certificate for dinner at Outback Steakhouse for the purpose experiencing and reviewing the Outback Steakhouse Dinner with Dad Experience.

E.Payne is the author of the soon to be released DAD: As Easy As A, B, C! and I Didn't Invented Sex. For the past 3 years he has posted 600+ articles about fatherhood, marriage and everything in between here at Makes Me Wanna Holler.com. To learn more, click here.

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