Photo by gemma / Unsplash

A dessert love story.

Although I wasn’t totally aware at the time, I didn’t get a lot of one-on-one time with my father as a child.

He worked a lot.

And I was one of five kids.

My mother was great at making his presence felt even when he wasn’t there. So I didn’t realize he was gone much but I really valued the time I got with him when he was present.

The very best moments were on the rare occasions my mother traveled and left us alone with my father.

My father would put me and my little sister in the car and we’d head to Pegnataro's (the local grocery store).

You know how you’re supposed to shop on the edges of a store and stay away from the middle aisles?

Well, we’d head straight toward the middle. He’d grab a cart and we’d head to the cookie and candy aisle.

He’d fill the cart with Mallomars and Oreos, Nilla wafers and Health Bar crunch. Then we’d head over to the ice cream aisle and load up.

It was one of the few times in my childhood where I had a choice about what food I got to eat.

[There was no sugar in my house growing up. No snacks, no easy grab items to take whenever we were hungry. If we really wanted a snack, my mother would tell me to eat a carrot.]

When we’d get home, Kevin would make (after a delicious nutritious dinner of course) a dessert fit for royalty.

Scoops of ice cream, chopped candy and cookies sprinkled on top - all drizzled with chocolate or caramel sauce.

I was a serious kid. I didn’t much like being a kid and really wanted to be taken seriously by my parents. But we had fun in those moments and I saw my father play in a way I didn't normally.

I've made those desserts throughout my life.

For my kids, occasionally. They still call them “Kevin desserts.”

For my father during the final months of his life (he ate a lot of ice cream those months).

And for me - when I want to feel close to one of the many gifts my father gave me.