So, I omitted one aspect of Father’s Day from my “Moments” post. It was a moment…but a not-so-little one.
This past Mother’s Day I really wanted an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. It had always kind of been a tradition with my mom. It was our “thing”. Now that she’s no longer here, Hubz has been pretty good about getting me that ice cream cake every year. He’s a good guy…that Hubz. This year, though, we had Hubz’s entire family over, and my mother-in-law offered to bring dessert. She wanted to make a cake for my sister-in-law’s birthday/Mother’s Day. I was happy to have her bake–she’s phenomenal at it. Her cake was exquisite, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. Or, well, needed.
On Sunday, I decided to get Hubz a Dairy Queen cake in honor of Father’s Day. I totally cop to the fact that this was much more for me than for him, but seriously, who does NOT LIKE DQ cake?! The ice cream? The fudge? The chocolate crunchies in the middle? It is, quite literally, as close to a slice of heaven as I’m gonna get.
When I brought it home, the boys’ eyes all shone with delight. They were super excited about our cake. Cole immediately figured it was for his birthday. Because, when you’re just-about-four-years-old, EVERYTHING is about your birthday. And it’s his birthday month. Jake and Tate ran up to me and took a long look. Jake read the phrase, “Happy Father’s Day”, and in his know-it-all tone, let Cole know that it was “For Dad, duh.” Tate saw the man mowing the lawn on the cake and declared that it was Daddy. Hubz cleared a spot in the deep freeze, and we counted the moments until cake time.
Hubz had requested chicken parm for his Father’s Day meal. We had to eat relatively early, as he had to catch a flight for his business trip. I got the food prepared, and we sat down to eat. Well, most of us, except for Tate. He kept saying he wasn’t hungry..and he was gonna be sick…which is a total script. *sigh* We let him roam–free range style–as we ate our dinner. Cole wouldn’t sit at the table either, preferring to do run-by bites of his pasta and chicken. There was too large of an opportunity to tattle on Tate to sit still and talk with us. So, Hubz, Jake and I had a nice conversation about the week, and what we were all going to be doing.
Once we were done eating, I started to clear the table. Jake was helping. Tate asked about the cake. He wanted to know when we’d be eating it. He started to squeak with anticipation. I told him that we would do that once everything was cleaned up. He nodded, and skipped away–flapping his hands ever-so-softly as he went down the hall.
Hubz grabbed the cake from the freezer. He set it on the counter to warm a bit, so that we wouldn’t have to chisel pieces off. Tate swooped in with a finger and got a big dab of frosting. “Mmm–de-wishous”. Jake helped get some forks out, and I grabbed the plates. Hubz started to cut slices of cake for the 5 of us.
“WAIT!!!”, shouted Tate. “We have to sing, “Happy Birthday!” Jake, ever the big brother, chimed in, “Tay-ate. It’s FATHER’S Day. NOT BIRTHDAY. Duh.” I asked Jake to check the attitude at the door. He muttered an apology, and then Hubz cut and distributed the cake. We all sat down to enjoy. As we started to take our bites of cake, Tate demanded that we all stop. He needed us to sing.
So, I started to sing “Happy Father’s Day to You” to Hubz. The boys all joined in. Tate sang with his entire body. His arms swung in the air. He twisted his torso to-and-fro. His head tilted from side-to-side. He was so into it. As we finished the song, Tate clapped and shouted “Yay!!!” Then he ate his cake…but not after swiping a little more frosting from Hubz’s slice.
As Tate did all of this, I couldn’t help but think back to his neuropsychological evaluation in March 2011. How my son, my precious fun-loving-son, cringed when the doctor sang “Happy Birthday”. How he cowered back into his chair, covering his ears. How when she prompted him to celebrate, he chose to grab the “cake server” and stim with it. How when she prompted him to say “Happy Birthday”, he laughed and giggled and started asking about grilled cheese from his favorite take-out place because it was all just too darn much for him.
I thought back to prior celebrations. How we’d have to sit in the other room, I’d cover his ears and hold him in a bear hug while others sang and cheered and celebrated with cake. How he’d whine and plead and beg for it to be done. How he just couldn’t handle having cake at any time because, God-forbid, there may be singing involved…and it was just too much.
So, even as I fret over his slight regression with speech/language lately, or his peer-to-peer social skills, or his proficiency with Reading Level B (and most First Graders are on J or whatever-the-frick-it-is), I can look at this moment. I can see the progress. I can beam with pride that my son, the one who never could be a part of celebrations that included cake in the past, could now LEAD THE FAMILY IN SONG to celebrate his daddy.
He made it look like a piece of cake…and well, I know that it has been anything but to get to this point. He works hard, that Tater Tot. And his hard work is paying off…in spades.