There are moments of peace as a father. They are rare, but now is one of them. I’m sat on the sofa with a book in our city apartment on the midmorning of a holiday. The two youngest kids are playing with cars on the living room floor, and the eldest is practicing her writing – she’s just about got cursive licked. Four-Ton, the dog, is at my feet. And so too is Rain, the cat.
I sink deeper into the sofa and look out the window of our fourth-floor apartment and watch the sunshine reflect off the other buildings. It is as if this is my own The Seven Storey Mountain, my Thomas Merton moment as a Trappist Monk.
It’s that point in the morning when the dishes are done, teeth are brushed, beds are made and stomachs are still full, and I’ve still not drunk too much coffee to become fidgety.
My mind wanders to my youth and long walks in the neighborhood with friends, tearing around on Big Wheels and then sitting on a wall and talking about not much at all. Then a game of touch football, followed by a raid of the refrigerator and a chill-out with “Gilligan’s Island” reruns. No real worries, and plenty of time to kill.
I look at my son. He is contentedly flipping through his Meg and Mog books. The eldest continues to write.
So I sink even deeper into the sofa and start closing my eyes, and as the lids close I come to spot the end of my tranquility.
The littlest one has taken the five-year-old boy’s favorite Meg and Mog — Meg on the Moon — from under his nose, and he’s just about to realize. And now he has.
“Hey, give me that!”
So I finish closing my eyes and think earplugs would certainly be handy right now.