Friday, we were sitting at the kitchen table eating dinner, when I told Sweetie that my parents were going to be coming over later.
"They'll be dropping off a weather radio and my Fathers' Day gift," I told her (my dad had gotten us one of those NOAA weather radios where you can program which counties you get the alerts for).
When he heard the words "Fathers' Day gift," Kiddo's ears perked up. You could almost literally see the lightbulb above his head.
"Mommy? I want to tell you a secret," he said. And he walked over to her. Looking at me, he said, "Daddy, don't hear this."
I immediately agreed and tried to look like I was paying attention to my salmon filet and rice.
Now Kiddo knows how to whisper, but his whispering is almost at stage-whisper level, where he really might as well just be talking. So I heard his side of the conversation clear as day.
"Mommy, I want to get Daddy a Fathers' Day present."
Sweetie must have whispered back that the mp3 player they got me for my birthday was also my Fathers' Day gift, because Kiddo whispered/whined "NO...I wanna get him another present."
Sweetie: (unintelligible whispering)
Kiddo: "What's a good present? what does Daddy like?"
Sweetie: (unintelligible whispering)
Kiddo: "He likes Junior Mints."
So later that evening they went out, presumably to pick me up some Junior Mints. As I put Kiddo to bed that night, he was excited. "Daddy, I picked out a present for you...you're gonna loooooove it!"
He kept talking about it yesterday, too--in fact, he couldn't get to sleep last night because he was afraid he was going to forget that today was Fathers' Day.
So this morning, I started to come downstairs. Kiddo and Sweetie were already in the living room. Kiddo said, "Wait...Daddy, stop!" I waited for a moment while I listened to some scurrying around. Finally, I got permission to enter my living room. Kiddo said, "wanna open your presents?" I said, sure, so he told me we were going to play "Hot and Cold" for me to find them.
He led me into the kitchen, and did a great job of guiding me to the corner where three wrapped presents awaited me.
Kiddo was so excited as I brought them into the living room. I opened the first one--it was a Mounds candy bar. "They didn't have Junior Mints," he said. "Do you like this kind as much as Junior Mints?" I assured him that I indeed did (which is true--dark chocolate and coconut goodness...mmmm....).
I opened the second one. It was a can of Moxie. "I know you really like pop," Kiddo said.
Then came the third one. It was like a little snow globe, only instead of white snow they were sparklies. And inside was a bear holding an American flag. "Do you like it?" Kiddo asked, expectantly. "I picked it out all by myself."
Here’s a picture of it:
A little context…we’re trying to watch our money, so Sweetie and I had decided to forego gifts for each other on Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day, and just stick to cards. Sweetie later told me that when they were at the store, Kiddo had seen this figurine on the shelf and had begged and pleaded with her to let him get it for me. She looked at the small, overpriced and...well, kitchy figurine and tried to explain that I had already gotten my present, but he wouldn't hear of it. Kiddo insisted that I’d “really, really like it” until finally, she relented. He just wanted to have something for me that was just from him. It was an act of pure giving, and pure love.
Pure love and pure giving through no deserving of my own, other than the fact that someone else has claimed me as their own? (Yes, I try to be the best dad I can be, but I labor under no pretense that I deserve the unconditional love Kiddo has for me. It is truly a gift--one that I cherish and cling to, but not one that I deserve.)
Leave it to my son to remind me of the wonder that is grace.
It will be many years before he realizes exactly how much that kitchy little teddy bear American flag snow globe figurine means to me.
Thanks, Kiddo. You're the best son a dad could ask for.
(And thanks, Sweetie for playing along and helping him make this such a special day. I love you.)
Some pictures from this last week of what makes me such a lucky dad:
Kiddo and Pumpkin on our back deck last week (while Daddy was mowing)