"Is tomorrow Father's Day? Dad. We are definitely not doing ANYTHING special for you for breakfast tomorrow."
Wyatt has almost moved on from sharing surprises the moment he hears them. Lately, he's into the (very obvious) "misleading" statements that reveal the surprise.
But who cares about the "surprise" part, right? We don't. Wyatt and I got up on Sunday and prepared a lovely breakfast. He snipped a big bunch of lavender flowers from the garden while I made blueberry pancakes. At breakfast, he gave Marc the mug he had painted the week before (saying as we left for the ceramics studio, "Dad. We are are NOT leaving right now to work on a surprise for you for Father's Day.")
After breakfast, we headed down the street to see the aftermath of the terrible fire that Wyatt and Marc had witnessed Saturday afternoon. On Saturday, Marc and Wyatt had gone out to the park, but soon after, they noticed a lot of smoke coming from down the road. They followed the smoke and commotion to a five-alarm fire where flames were pouring out the top story of what turned out to be six burning buildings. According to news reports I have read, no one was hurt. But the whole scene was intense and sad. Wyatt announced when they got home, "Mom. I haven't gotten enough snuggles from you today," and he proceeded to sit on my lap for over an hour while peppering me with questions about fires and firefighters. On Sunday, the devastation was still very much on Wyatt's mind, so Marc suggested we revisit the scene. Nearly 24 hours later, the buildings were still smoldering in places. And, now, more than two days after the fire, Wyatt is still processing what it means to be a firefighter. He thought he knew, but now he understands that he truly had NO IDEA what it entails. The combination of flames coming out of buildings and his beloved Cole Hardware, gutted and unrecognizable, was sobering.
We spent a long time on the sidewalk watching all the activity. Eventually, we headed home.
Later in the day, we picked up giant sandwiches from Ike's and ate them at home in our garden on lawn chairs. Then, we lounged on the lawn chairs. Next, we walked (and some of us also used our kick-scooters) to get ice cream. I should note that all of these activities were aspects of Wyatt's dream day, and he suggested all of them. Fortunately, Wyatt and Marc like many of the same things, so this plan worked well for Father's Day.
On our way back from ice cream, a fire engine drove by. As the firefighters rang the bell, Wyatt stopped and looked. Without even a hint of a smile, he waved earnestly, reflecting his new and deep respect.
I thought to myself as I saw him wave, "The kid's growing up." But the truth is, all of us are offered opportunities all the time to grow-up. As adults, if we're present and ready for it, we can gain new perspectives and work to become our best selves. Children, on the other hand, aren't ready to author their own stories in the same way. It's our responsibility to help them. As I reflected on the big and small things that had punctuated Father's Day, I found myself especially grateful that Marc is Wyatt's father. I can't think of a better person to help him write his story.