According to my daughter, Father's Day doesn't exist.

It's been a joke between us for several years.

It started because I reminded her one year when she was pretty young that Father's Day was approaching, which took her off guard. Since then, out of the blue any time of the year, I tell her Father's Day is coming.

She has never forgotten the day I wouldn't let her.

I thought about Claire and my joke when I came across a story about a survey that indicated kids spend more on moms on their day than they do dads, and they are spending less on Father's Day every year.

According to this survey, most of the people in the country celebrate Father's Day, spending an average of $85.66, which is down from last year's $86.19.

Gifts for Mom average $104.63.

I have no problem with this, but it must say something that just two years ago, Dad's gifts averaged $99.65 and presents for Mom were at $97.37.

What have we dads done in the last two years to diminish our value?

Are we, as a whole, suffering for the bad acts of a few?

I don't want to be lumped in with the dad of the balloon boy.

Don't blame all of us for O.J.

Not all of us pretend not to notice the stinky diaper until Mom walks in the room.

Maybe it is not anything we have done or not done.

This survey showed moms want more lavish gifts, while dads are just happy to eat and watch TV. If that is the case, then every day is Father's Day at my house.

Dads get practical gifts, like my early gift this year. Or maybe mine was a life-saver.

This year, I already have received my gift from my wife. As part of my birthday present she bought me a GPS system. It's not because she's tired of telling me where to go, it's the fact that my directional compass has been off since birth.

Directions come easy to her. I get lost in a cul-de-sac.

My wife can find her way around about any place. I would rather invite a complete stranger into my vehicle to make sure I get where I need to go. That would be a great job for anyone, just driving me around, and it would make my life a lot easier.

The fact that my wife goes all out for me is in line with the survey.

Wives spend an average of $91.46 on their fathers or husbands. Sons spend an average of $79.42, which leads me to my son.

While my daughter likes to pretend the day doesn't exist, I'm not sure my son would ever remember anyone's birthday let alone when Mother's and Father's days are.

I can't complain about the gift-giving, but he does need to be reminded.

I don't think my kids would ever need to spend that much money on a gift for me. Heck, if they actually looked up from their computers, iPods or Xbox when they spoke to me I'd probably break down.

Who am I kidding, if they talked to me I'd cherish it.

I don't remember ever having a bad Father's Day, but I do remember when I became a dad. That was the best gift ever.

Patrick Murphy, of Columbus, Neb., is the former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.