This article is based on the AskReddit question "What was your 'Don't tell your mother' moment with your dad?"
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1/18. One day in grade school, maybe grade 5 or 6, my dad came unexpectedly into the classroom early in the morning. He looked upset. He talked to the teacher for a minute, then walked over to me.
He whispered, "look upset. We're going skiing. Don't tell your mother."
2/18. I once wondered why Dad was spending so much time away from home when he was off work. He always used to be home reliably when work got out.
Then one day I noticed his truck parked on a more rural road not far from a friend's house. What I discovered was that he was back there in a "wood mill" type place, using a wood-splitter machine to cut logs into different sizes.
He made me promise not to tell Mom that he was earning extra money doing this part-time work to save up money to take her on an anniversary trip she had dreamed of, but which he couldn't afford on the salary from his regular job.
3/18. My dad owns/is the president of a fairly large company he started right out of college. When I was young, he travelled internationally a lot still trying to establish the company. For a few years when I was probably 7-10ish, he was gone probably 15 days a month on average - sometimes more, sometimes less. My mom was pretty strict about what we were allowed to watch (movies and tv) up until I was about 14-15. So naturally, I would hear my friends at school talk about all the cool movies they watched and it sucked.
One night my dad got home from the airport and told my mom that he had to go to the office to finish up some work and that he was going to take me with him since I hadn't seen him in a few days. So we got in the car and started driving to his office. On the way, we stopped and got a pizza. Then he pulled into the block buster parking lot and went into the store. He came back out and put the bag in the trunk and said he had a surprise. When we got to his office, we went into the conference room and he showed me what he got at blockbuster: a 2L bottle of soda (which I wasn't supposed to have), one of those huge popcorn buckets (mom didn't want us to eat microwave popcorn either), and the first Pirates of the Caribbean (again, not supposed to watch that). So we had a movie night on the projector in the conference room with pizza and popcorn. We started doing that 2 or 3 times a month for the next couple years - pig out on junk food and watch movies that my dad wanted to see but my mom wouldn't let me watch with him. To this day she still has no idea we did any of that.
4/18. When I was four or five years old, my mom wouldn't let me watch The Wizard of Oz. She was concerned that the flying monkeys would traumatize me, so she barred me from watching it. That's why, while she was gone one day, my Dad and I watched a movie.
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5/18. When I was a kid my dad and I were in the garage working on a car and he told me to go get him a beer. I ran back to the garage with it, looked at him, opened the can and took a swig - then gave it to him. He looked at me, smiled approvingly, and said "just don't tell your mother.
6/18. When I had my drivers permit my dad was supposed to help teach me to drive. He had me drive him everywhere and teaching me consisted of him leaning the seat back, turning the radio on low volume, and napping until we got to our destination. I remember the first day it happened he just said "I'm supposed to be monitoring you closely and keeping an eye on every move you make, but I'm tired. You'll be fine. Just don't speed. And your mom doesn't need to know I'm asleep or she'll kill us both."
What dad doesn't know is when my brother got his permit last year, mom's way of teaching him to drive was the same concept.
7/18. When I was about seven, my Mum bought a cheap blender for the kitchen, it was one of those ones where the blending thingie points downward, you have to insert the jug from the front, and its design in such a way that you can basically put any old cup in there and it will still work. Mum was very strict in that we were not allowed to use just any cup, we had to use the special blender jug. Dad hated that thing because it was a pain to clean.
Soon, the day came when mum was out, and I asked my dad if I could make a milkshake. He chucked all the ingredients straight into the milkshake cup and stuck that into the blender. I, being a bit of a snot, reminded him that we had to use the special jug, because Mum said so. Dad replied, that "Well, Dad can do it this way, because Dad said so" then promptly turned the blender on, and sent milk, chocolate, banana and ice cream splattering all over the kitchen ceiling.
8/18. When I was young my mom sometimes visited her mother for a week or so by herself. When she left, my father took us "impulse shopping" at the grocery store and we would live for the week on whatever my dad, my brother and I picked out. I remember subsisting on liverwurst and gummy bears.
9/18. My dad used to drive me to my flute lessons across town every Wednesday evening. On our way back home every week, we'd stop at Baskin Robbins and he'd let me get a double scoop in a waffle cone and we'd sit inside, take our time, and talk. It was a really special thing since both my parents worked two jobs and had to chauffeur around two high school aged kids to various functions/activities. Getting to spend one on one time with either of my parents was a rare and fortunate thing.
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The thing was, they both worked two jobs because we weren't that well off, so weekly stops at Baskin Robbins was a splurge thing and I wasn't to tell my mom or my brother about it.
Schedules flipped around about a year later and my mom was the one to take me to flute lessons and she'd always get good junk food from the gas station (easy cheese and wheat thins or potato wedges) and we'd eat in the car and talk. Neither parent knew the other spoiled me on Wednesdays.
10/18. My dad was teaching me how to skate in our apartment's parking lot and me, being the overly confident 9 year old, thought it would be great to skate down the lot's steepest hill. Dad encouraged, child approved.
So I took the hill and I ate shit. Hard. Landed straight on my elbows and knees.
Now, my dad didn't believe in elbow and knee pads (and nor do I to this day because I'm stupid) but let me tell you, I was scuffed up pretty bad. Now here's context...
For years, after watching her daughter and husband get hurt by dumb shit, my mom hated any sign of what we called "fun". After rough checking for broken bones, I got out of my state of shock and started to weep softly at my bloody arms and legs. My dad thought I was okay to walk so we slowly walk up stairs to our apartment and my dad sits me on the steps.
In slight horror and mass confusion I watched this man take the blood off my elbows and knees and wipe it on my face (Think Sylvester Stalone football player mvp style.). Only thing it took to shut me up and never tell my mom was that
"I was a warrior. And warriors don't tell mom."
So i never told mom.
11/18. Back when I was at school I had a habit of lashing out at people who picked on me. Good for avoiding bullying after a few times, bad for having friends and not being called a psycho.
Older boy came up behind me and poured a drink on my head. I responded by turning around and punching him repeatedly in the face. Devolved into usual schoolboy scuffling until he ran off after seeing a teacher coming.
I got into trouble as he definitely got the worst of it, but got off the hook as he was older and had a history of bullying. Ended up just being sent home to my parents. My mum was at work and my dad was working from home, so he took the call and met me coming in.
I was terrified what would happen (the times I'd fought before that my mum had come down on me hard, as she was the strict one), but the only conversation was "Did you start it?" No. "Did you finish it?" Yes. "Did he deserve it?" Yes. "Let's go watch TV. Don't tell mum."
Love that man.
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12/18. The time I saw Braveheart in the movies, despite being a kid. The time I first set off a firework. The time I and my father got into a mini brawl at the Meadowlnds. My first visit to a strip club. My first drink. My first drink at a bar. My first porn magazine. the time he bought me my first package of condoms. The time he was teaching me how to drive and told me to bury the needle in the red. Literally any moment I spent with my dad out of my moms vision.
13/18. My dad died when I was 12 years old, but one of my favorite memories of him was a "don't tell your mother."
I was probably about 6 or 7 years old at the time, and he worked as a bus driver for out local public transit. He owned a Suzuki Madura and used to ride it into work on good weather days.
He used to take me into work with him from time to time and I would ride the bus with him all day. So the first time he decided to ride his motorcycle in with me my mother told him to take me down the slower streets and not the interstate.
I woke up super early with him and he proceeded to ask me "Do you want to take the slow way? Or the really fast way?" Naturally I wanted to go the fast way, so he told me never to tell my mom.
Every time after that we would blaze down I-95 to his job with me hanging on tight to his back. I remember my helmet clanking into his and having the time of my life. I now own my own bike, and can't wait to get it fixed up.
I really miss my dad.
14/18. When, after several hours of failure and frustration and having to send me to bed half way through the set up, my Dad sneaking upstairs to wake 11 year old me up just after midnight with the simple phrase
I got the new Playstation working! Come and have a go, but shush, your mum is in bed!
First game we booted up was Alien Trilogy. THOSE GRAPHICS MAN!
15/18. My mother had to move away for a year for job related reasons. I remember clearly that she sat my father down in the kitchen (who up until that point had been the one too work more and had been around less) and told him exactly what the rules were for us kids. One of them was "being in bed by 9pm"
As soon as she was out the door my father turned to me and said: "Children of the Corn is on tonight, you want to watch it?" It was on at 2am and the first horror movie i watched (I was 11). Luckily I loved it and horror movie nights became our secret thing to do when my mother wasn't around.
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16/18. When I was 13, LOTR:FOTR was being released. There are really no words to describe how excited I was for this film, and I begged my parents to take me to the midnight showing. It turned out that I had some sort of standardized testing the next day, so it was out of the question.
I remember my dad making a big deal out of how everyone had to go to bed early so I could be well rested for my test. I was furious, lying there wondering what the movie would be like. Slowly I slipped into my own dreams of Middle Earth.
Suddenly, I was shaken awake. "Mom's asleep. I've got the tickets. Let's go...quietly."
Best night of my life. I did fine on my exam, I still made it to a good college and got a real job and all that. I don't know if my mom figured it out, but at that point my parents were often sleeping in separate rooms, so it is possible we got away with it.
17/18. My dad and myself got some pretty sweet gas powered RC cars for Christmas. I was 13 at the time, and I mentioned to my father "Dad, It would be really awesome if we took some wood and made a ramp off the back of the truck."
So my father's response? "Let's wait until your mother's gone for work."
Fast forward 20 minutes, mom's gone off to work. And we've set up the holy mother of all RC ramps up the back of the truck and were launching these RC cars over the house. Both found it really hilarious, until I messed up and didn't hit the jump fast enough. Ended up sending it through the window.
Dad's response as he looks at his watch. "Guess what kid? Your going to learn how to replace a window today before your mom gets home..."
Six hours later, received one of the many life lessons from my Dad. He was such a cool cat, we have many stores like this. So many.
18/18. When I was a teenager I did a stupid stunt and landed myself 3 days in local ICU with a massive concussion.
It was right before summer vacation and I hit my skull so hard the doctors advised no bike riding, skateboarding or swimming for 3 months. As a 17 year old kid with no drivers licence yet all my forms of transportation minus walking were not available too me.
One night my dad has a few beers and gets hungry. It's like close to midnight and everywhere that can deliver close by is closed. He knew a local bar was open with some great chicken wings. Told him it was a great idea but he was drunk and could not drive. His idea bike ride, it was only maybe 5 miles from our house and his logic is if we stick to back roads and I wear a helmet everything will be fine, and not tell my mother. After a month and a half of being home bound I was okay with this
We leave and HE'S the one that hits a parked car, twice. Once on the way there and once back, same car too. He was right the chicken wings were great but when we got back home my mother woke up and figured out we left and how we got there. She wasn't happy but worth it.