Each year when Father's Day rolls around, there are dozens of retail sales on fatherly items such as grills, recliners, shirts, ties, tools, hardware and on some occasions — even mattresses.

Sure, most of this stuff would be nice to get as a gift for Father's Day, and I've happily accepted many of these items over the past 14 years. As a son, I've given many of these items to my own father. Well, never a mattress, but I came close and did gave dad a sleeping bag one year.

Any of these gifts are good gifts, but this year I want the same thing that my wife got on Mother's Day. No, I'm not talking about that pink, fluffy, ruffled nightgown. The gift I'm talking about is time.

I'll be the first to admit that when it comes to spending time with my children — I'm a big, fat hog. Many might argue that I'm a big, fat hog regardless, but since they were little infants, my wife and I have made every effort to spend as much time with our children as possible. This year on Mother's Day we didn't do anything fancy. We went to church, out to eat after church with my mother and father-in-law, returned home and spent the day together.

Throughout the past 14 years, my wife and I have made it a priority in our family to spend quality time together with our children at almost any cost. We always try to have at least one family meal together each day and spend at least a few hours together each day. Sure, sometimes that means having to drive from one side of the county to the other in order to pick up some take out food and meet the kids at either the Cumberland County Playhouse, soccer practice, dance class, mom's work or dad's work, a meeting or whatever destination that busy day's schedule may hold, but it's worth the sacrifice.

We already have the day planned for this year on Father's Day — we will be spending the day together. But the time I'm talking about that I want for a gift is a guarantee that for the rest of my life I'll be able to spend as much time as I want with my children.

Sound selfish? Yes, I know.

Impractical? Yes, I know.

I can't help it, though. As my wife and I grow older and our children get bigger and less dependent on their mom and dad, I am reminded that there will come a time when I'm going to look back and wish these days were here again. I know because I already find myself on many occasions longing for the days when they were little and we had so many years ahead of us at home, under the same roof.

What I try to make my children understand is that time is a valuable thing that can't be replaced. We should try to take advantage of the time we have together and not worry the little things.

When I call my father, who lives out of town, and talk with him, we almost always drift in our conversations back to the 1960s and 70s, when I was a child. We talk about the the things we did together and the events that took place in our lives. We both know now just how valuable that time was for each of us.

So this year on Father's Day I'm going to make another investment that will be well spent — time with my children. That way in another 20 years, when we have our conversations, we can talk about the good old days that are happening right now.

I wouldn't want to miss this time for anything in the world. My advice for a Father's Day gift this year is to call your father and thank him for the sacrifices he made for you. If you can't be together, spend some time talking to each other on the phone and then spend some time together as soon as you can. I know most father's want the gift of time for Father's Day. Besides, it's a lot better than a pink, fluffy, ruffled nightgown.

Gary Nelson is a Crossville Chronicle staffwriter. His column is published periodically. He may be reached at gnelson@crossville-chronicle.com.