A good morning.
"Can you help me with the kids?" my wife asked me this morning. I hadn't bothered setting my alarm, as I had today off. I sat up. It was 07:00.
"Sure," I said. I had meant to get up earlier to help get them going. When you have the day off, you can take it a little easier with the getting ready, and everybody has a better morning.
I padded into my 10 year-old's room, first. She's notoriously hard to get up, and takes the longest. I grabbed her feet, yanked her toward me, and pulled her blanket off of her, expecting the battle. She began responding much faster than usual. I sat her up, gave her a hug, and asked her to stand up. She did so, and smiled. Whoa.
I went to the 6 year-old's room, and asked her if she could wake up. Eyes still shut, she smiled, nodded, and stretched. I sat her up as she opened her eyes and wished me a good morning. We hugged, and I told her to brush her hair, which she had neglected to do before going to bed with it wet last night. This is usually an onerous task in the morning, entailing much screaming on her part as the tangles are brushed out. She smiled and said, "Okay, Daddy," and proceeded to go brush it without a word of protest. Whoa.
I went to the kitchen, got the coffee going, and decided that the kids needed breakfast. I made up a very bland migas for 'em, with only eggs, corn tortillas, fresh garlic, and salt. The young one wanted toast with jam, the elder wanted hers wrapped in a whole wheat flour tortilla. I plated their breakfast 8 minutes later, with milk. They ate their breakfasts without protest, and washed their faces.
Because of the route my wife takes to work, I took the 10 year old to her school while my wife took the 6 year old to her school. En route, I drilled my daughter on the Four Rules, a few rapid-fire multiplication tables that made her roll her eyes out of disgust for lack of challenge, and a quick verbal run-down of the proper method to field-strip a 1911. (She can do it, but verbalizing it is harder than you might imagine, for a kid. I think that saying it aloud is good, because it allows her to understand what the parts actually do.) We got through proper unloading and removing the recoil spring plunger before we were interrupted by her getting out to run in; she was almost late for school.
"I love you. Be careful," I said as she took off.
"I love you too!" she called, running in.
I watched her run and thought how utterly fantastic it was that I had hit the lottery. My little girl, running in, is bright, interested in the world, polite, tender-hearted, talented, and beautiful. "I made that," I said aloud, watching after her.
I grinned, and as I drove home I passed my wife, later than me, driving our younger daughter in. She saw my grin, and smiled back, saying something that I knew amounted to "there's your daddy" to my 6 year old. She waved furiously at me as we passed, with a big smile on her golden face. Golden.
That lottery? I hit it twice.