Clash! Shudder! Tink! Tump! – A Guest Blog
I asked a new found friend of mine if he would like to write a guest blog to give us a look into a piece of chaos that life offered him. I enjoyed the read, and the insight that he had to offer. As a parent, I relate. I’m sure you will too. Enjoy.
CRASH, SHATTER, TINK, TINK, TINK…. THUMP, THUMP, THUMP, AND THUMP. *Heavy breathing*.
I turn to my wife, Emily, and grimace. I can see her eyebrows furrow at the curious clattering sounds coming from the kitchen. We are sitting in the living room, having a nice afternoon rest, while blissfully ignoring the chaos of my six children located in various places around the house. Okay, ignoring is perhaps a harsh description, taking a break is more accurate.
We’ve just finished playing our forty-second consecutive game of Hungry, Hungry Hippos and I’ve asked my littlest son, who we affectionately call Bug, to go and get me a Bandaid from the first aid kit in the kitchen cupboard. I’ve developed a nice swollen blister on my finger from the little plastic Hippo’s handle, and it has now turned red and raw. The blister isn’t too bad; the Bandaid mission is more of an excuse to end the game. The reality is if I had to swallow one more little marble with my tiny orange hippo mouth I was going to snap the little hippos jaw, so sending Bug on this task seemed the better alternative. Oh boy, was I about to be proven wrong?
“I’ll go see what that was,” I say, and stand up to go to the kitchen. Bug’s dark haired twin brother, Cowboy, streaks by me at breakneck speed clamoring to see what trouble his brother has gotten into. It takes only a few seconds from the time of the crash to this moment where I enter the scene of the crime. I scan the room, first looking right where a gigantic pile of what used to be our dinner plates lays shattered into a million pieces on the floor. Cowboy, having beaten me into the room, is standing mouth wide open staring into the heap of broken mess. He cranks his head towards his brother, and then back to me, and we briefly connect eyes. I can see the look of pure shock written across his face. He is checking my face thoughtfully, gauging if I’m about to rain a storm of fire down on his brother.
I look left now, where Bug is leaning casually against the kitchen table, elbow up on the rung of one of the tucked in chairs. He resembles a casual James Dean, missing only the dangling unlit cigarette from the corner of his lips. The only thing that betrays his casual afternoon chill is the heaving of his chest as he rapidly sucks air in and out of his lungs. He looks suspiciously like a man who just made a quick sprint, oh; let’s say, twenty feet across a kitchen.
“What happened?!?!” I ask.
“I don’t know, Dad,” he replies. “They just fell out,” he continues, pointing at first to the cupboard door perched wide open, and then accusingly at the broken blue pile of ceramic on the floor.
“They just fell out?” I repeat, narrowing my eyes suspiciously and glancing again at him then back to the scene of the crime. “You mean, like, they jumped?” I press further, “All on their own?”
“Maybe……” he says slowly, casting his guilty gaze towards the floor by his feet. “I might have knocked them a little bit.”
“Ahhhhhh,” I say. “That makes a lot of sense. I didn’t see any plate arms or legs to push open the cupboard and leap out,” I continue. Cowboy sniggers at my joke and Bug’s wide-eyed serious face casually begins to spread into a smile when he sees that I’m not mad.
As if the call of someone getting in trouble has emitted an invisible pheromone into the air that summons all children within a one-mile radius to come and watch, the other four kids file, one by one, into the room. Each halts and looks at the floor and then looks at me to see if I’m going to start yelling. By now, I’m grinning at my son. The plates are broken, and sure, I’m a little provoked, but, I’ve learned that life is too short to lose your cool over something like a pile of broken plates.
My middle daughter speaks up now; asking casually, “So, what happened anyway?”
I look at Bug and see his eyes cast downward once more. Cowboy looks longingly towards his twin as if to telepathically say, “You’re on your own with this one.” Before Bug can say anything, I look my daughter square in the eyes; shrug my shoulders and say, “They just fell out.” Bug’s face snaps back upwards, and his broad smile opens again. He is thrilled that I haven’t spilled the beans to the other kids, who no doubt would tease him about the mishap.
I look at my son, and my heart melts a little bit. I love that child, even if he is a mischief maker. I love each of my kids. They are the reason life goes on. I don’t want to spend the time we have together being mad or upset. For now, we’re all together, and we’re all doing okay. That’s more important than any pile of plates will ever be.
I cross the room, ruffle Bug’s hair on the way past and head towards the broom closet. As I pass, each of the kids starts to disburse, headed back to wherever it was, from which they had come. I hear whoops and laughter, and overall sounds of happy children. My heart is full.
I open the closet; take out a broom and dustpan. I reach the hand holding the dustpan towards Bug and ask, “Want to help me clean this up?” He nods happily and takes the item from me. Together, father and son, we work side by side cleaning up. I can’t help but think about the future and hope that someday when my own son’s children make a mistake and try to cover it up that he will think of this moment and remember what it feels like to be a little boy with a Dad who loves him enough to turn the other cheek. I hope, beyond everything, at that moment, my son will remember me.
R.C. Spencer is a father of six children, 13-year-old boy/girl twins, a 12-year-old son, an 11-year-old daughter and 6-year-old twin sons. He is living with terminal cancer and has been given less than a year to live. Despite the grim prognosis, R.C. continues to do well and hopes to beat the time frame bestowed upon him. Since his diagnosis, R.C. has been spending time making special memories with his family and enjoying the beauty that is life. He currently lives in Canada with his wife, Emily, and successfully co-parents his big chaotic family with his ex-wife Nikole. R.C. has started blogging his journey and shares his experience of living, and loving life, despite having a terminal illness. His blog can be found at http://www.dropinthebucket.ca