Monday, October 20, 2014

Mom’s Birthday Weekend

It was a big weekend as my wife celebrated a round number birthday.

Kai’s grandparents treated us to lunch on Saturday. My wife picked her favorite Japanese restaurant. Kai had his usual – shrimp and octopus sushi, along with edamame.

My wife and I each had the bento box.

You can see there were a great variety of dishes including karaage (fried chicken), tempura, cod, sashimi (raw fish), daikon (Japanese radish), pickled cucumber, rice, and miso soup.

It was all very delicious. Kai even limited his iPad time (somewhat) at the restaurant without making a fuss.

It was quite a treat for us. Though Kai’s grandparents would give us an even bigger treat the next evening.

* * * * *

Before we get to that, on Saturday night we went to the Highwood Pumpkin Festival. In past years, the festival had a goal to break the world record for most lit jack-o-lanterns at one time. This year the event benefitted the Autism Society of Illinois and they had a goal to light 52,000 jack-o-lanterns, one for each of the 52,000 individuals with autism in Illinois.

We have been going to this festival for several years now and Kai was very excited as we go there this time. He said he wanted to both carve and light pumpkins.

We saw a number of people at carving tables, but had a hard time finding a table with extra carving knives. We also could not find anyone handing out candles to use to light the pumpkins.

Kai got very irritated.

The speed with which his excitement turned to anger was a bit surprising. I thought he had learned to be more patient but that was not evident on this evening.

I grabbed a pumpkin to carve and then my wife and I desperately searched around for a carving knife. That pumpkin was getting heavy as we walked around the festival grounds. Kai got angrier and angrier.

Finally, we found a knife.

I started to carve but Kai said that he wanted to do it.

I was afraid that he might cut himself as he kept stabbing at the pumpkin and responded with anger when I tried to advise him. But I considered it a win when he was able to finish his task without bloodshed.

Next, we wanted to find a candle to help light the pumpkins. It took almost as long as finding that knife but my wife finally found a candle.

We each took turns trying to light the pumpkins.

Finally, Kai was happy again.

We walked around to see all the lit jack-o-lanterns one more time before leaving.

“We had a lot of fun at this festival, didn’t we, Dad?”

The way he said that made it sound like he wanted confirmation.

Yes, we did Kai.

Though next year we will bring our own lighter, and perhaps a carving knife, too.

* * * * *

The next afternoon, Kai’s grandparents picked up Kai from his group exercise class and then watched him for several hours so that my wife and I could have a rare evening out alone.

We saw a movie and then had a scrumptious dinner at a French bistro. My wife had gotten recommendations from friends. From the outside, it looked like a nondescript place in a suburban strip mall. But the inside was charming and the food was exquisite.

We were happy to find out that everyone had a nice time at home as well.

And we celebrated my wife’s birthday with cake and a few presents.

Happy birthday to my beautiful wife!


  1. 52,000!? I had no idea it was so high there.

    Momma looks very happy to have received Kai's card. The last photo is an especially one. Both have warm and genuine smiles. I'll bet this one will long be a favorite of Momma's :)

    1. I read that there are 2 million people nationally with autism so 52,000 in Illinois is probably about proportional to our population.

      Kai put a lot of thought (and love) into that card and Mom really appreciated it.

  2. How nice! It's always fun when celebrations last over a few days! And it was great that you two got to go out alone together.

    Cute card Kai made!

    1. Yes, we enjoyed our rare evening out alone together!


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