When I woke up, Maria was baking Judith confetti cake mix cupcakes with chocolate frosting and multi-colored sugar sprinkles to take to school because it was Judith’s tenth birthday. “Good morning, Daddy!” Judith sang to me in her still little girl’s voice. “Hi, Dad,” Jacob said. “Good morning, Sweetie.” Maria said as she kissed me when I kind of staggered into the kitchen of our small house finally up and joining our family before I had to shower and get to work. “Happy Birthday, Judith!” I slurred, still half asleep.
“Judith is ten,” I thought to myself, “Where DID the time go?”
I was going to have to try and remember to buy her a card at Walgreens on my way home from work tonight and also remember to get home on time for the birthday dinner that Maria said she was making us tonight. And also remember to come home with my body and be actually present for my family when I walked through the door tonight and also not retreat to our bedroom or the bathroom and hear the sounds of my beautiful, still-young wife and children talking and laughing and having fun through the walls of our small house while I . . . did what . . . “hide from your children” like Dustin Hoffman playing Captain Hook accused Robin Williams playing a grown up, fat, lawyer Peter Pan in the movie “Hook” that we had all recently seen, and that line made me wince like Captain Hook had just run ME threw the chest with his pirate’s cutlass clean up to the hilt.
“What do you do for work, Daddy?” Judith had asked me once when she was just five years old, looking up at me with her big blue eyes shining through under her mop of golden curls.
“Daddy helps police put bad guys in jail, Sweetheart.” I answered because that was the best way to describe the book-reading, pencil-pushing, and interminable jaw-boning in which I spent most of my waking hours.
“Ohhhh . . . Daddy! YOU are a HERO!” Judith said, and I never forgot those words my daughter said to me that day, nor did I ever live up to them.
Too late today to have my so-called quiet time with “my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” in Bible study and prayer . . . again. When WAS the last time that I arose before dawn, before Maria and our kids got up for school, to have some time alone with the One I would tell people had once saved my soul . . . and still does? I couldn’t remember.
Off to work again to the horrors that awaited me there, unprepared spiritually, mentally, emotionally . . . again.
[Disclaimer: Lots of this is made up, and if you think that you recognize some real person or event, you don’t. That’s just sheer coincidence and exists only in your own warped imagination.]
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