I was at a loss, as I usually am, about a Father’s Day present for my spouse when my 19-year-old, Noah, suggested a fire pit for the backyard. We spent a good chunk of yesterday shopping for one together, trying authentically local stores first and eventually succumbing to the fire pit nirvana that is Home Depot, where we found a large terra cotta mode complete with chimney. “And you know what would be cool,” Noah said. “We should give this to him with the makings for S’mores.”
The question was how to present this enormous gift, which wasn’t exactly the kind of thing you could hand someone in bed. So we agreed that Noah would set it up in the backyard overnight, and it would be there in the morning before the Dad of the House left for softball.
I heard Noah back out of the driveway around midnight and wondered where he was going. I was mildly curious, but not worried, which is something that happens after you’ve sent your youngest off to college.
When he came into our bedroom at 1:30 a.m., I foggily asked where he’d been, and he whispered something about the present.
“Oh,” I said, figuring out that he’d done a midnight grocery run for marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate.
“And it’s going on now.”
In other words, there was a fire going in the backyard.
We all went downstairs and outside, where a friend of Noah’s was tending the fire. Noah went around the backyard searching for sticks to roast marshmallows with. I kept ssshhh-ing everybody — worried that our 1:30 a.m. campfire wouldn’t be a hit with the neighbors. And the S’more making began. We stayed outside for about an hour, talking and laughing quietly, until Noah finally extinguished the fire with a garden hose. And then we washed the stickiness off our hands and climbed back in bed.
Only a 19-year-old would engineer a Father’s Day celebration that involved waking up the father being honored in the middle of the night and serving him S’mores.
And it was magical.