I Wish I’d Laughed

Miska's been out of town a couple days, and this morning I was up early, downstairs with a friend and coffee. I heard the pitter-patter of feet on the hardwood above, the wild tribe arising. I found myself saying a prayer for these sleepy-eyed boys, for goodness and love and God to cover them all their days. I had an image of a Wyatt and a Seth, years from now – men who know themselves and their God and their work. My eyes grew moist. These moments catch us unaware.

Then breakfast came and the rush-to-school madness. No one would mistake me for being proficient at such things. My dialogue went something like this: Brush your teeth, get on your socks, grab your backpack, did you brush your teeth?, where's your other sock? uh, brush your teeth, is your homework signed?, where's you hoodie?, no. we can't take your four crates of legos, did we eat breakfast?, socks, boys, socks, Brush. Your. Teeth! Exhausting.

I finally herded the boys down the stairs with instructions to pull on their shoes. When I followed, I noticed Wyatt standing underneath the coat rack, mostly hidden by scarves and jackets and hats. Looking closely, you could make out two little legs and two little Nike tennis shoes. Wyatt was intensely quiet, convinced he was invisible.

I didn't play along. The clock ticked. My nerves were sufficiently taut. I tapped his shoe and, more gruffly than I wish, said, "Come on, Wyatt, let's go."

He did. Wyatt piled out of the mound of clothes, and he grabbed his bag. But before he headed to the car, Wyatt said, "Dad, you didn't even laugh."

I wish I had. I wish I'd laughed. Next time, I hope I do.

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