A late afternoon rainstorm made for a sluggish commute home from work a few days ago. As I pulled up the street to our home, I flicked the button to the garage door opener. I couldn’t wait to set down my briefcase and relax on the couch.
But as I stepped foot inside the house it sounded like Kim had started a daycare without my knowledge. I stood just inside the door, staring at the ceiling.
The kids laughter muffled my arrival home. I could stay downstairs until things settled down.
But that didn’t last long.
What was going on upstairs? I was curious.
I heard Kim yell, “Will you guys eat pancakes?” By the time I walked into the kitchen she was on the phone. Her friend (our neighbor) wasn’t feeling well. Kim offered to watch three kids while their mother rested.
Of course, none of this surprises me. Kim has a way of sensing when others need help. It’s a trait she’s exercised for so many years that it comes naturally.
I stood back and watched her flip pancakes, make scrambled eggs, set the table, and round up seven children. All with a phone to her ear. Just one of those activities would give me trouble.
Even then, I considered grabbing a plate of food and bolting downstairs to avoid the chaos. But I thought better of it when Kim mentioned to me that Anna had a difficult afternoon. I decided to sit next to her, but we ran out of chairs.
I picked up the piano bench from the living room and set it next to the dining table. Kim placed a plate stacked full of pancakes on the table. Over the next few minutes I watched the kids interact with each other. There was a lot of laughter and excitement in their voices. It was loud with each child raising his or her voice to be heard over the others.
Except for Anna. She sat next to me with her head down. I asked if she wanted maple syrup on her pancake. She agreed if I’d cut it into pieces for her.
And then someone asked Lincoln to tell us about the worm he peed on that morning.
Anna turned to me and said, “Oh dad, you’ve got to hear this story!”
So I sat there on an uncomfortable piano bench surrounded by kids eating pancakes and scrambled eggs while listening to Lincoln tell us why he peed on a worm.
I don’t know what I signed up when I became a father, but I’m sure it didn’t include this scenario.
But other than adding padding to the bench, I wouldn’t change a thing.