Animal Parade

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"Animal Parade" by Jake Frost for CatholicMom.com

By Leif Jørgensen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes my kids bring a smile to my heart just by being themselves. Like on one chore-filled day of uber-productivity not long ago. I was busy around the house, moving from room to room, doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, folding and putting away: getting stuff done. It was one of those days when everything is just firing on all cylinders and tasks large and small are being completed at every turn.

As an aside: I love those days. I don’t know how they happen, but every once in a while the cosmos aligns itself so that even the long-lingering items finally get checked off the to-do list as tasks fall with lightning rapidity, one after another.

I should figure out what’s behind those days, because I’d love to get more of them. Next time one comes around, I’ve got to look to see what’s different that might be triggering the burst of productivity. Ten to one it’s sleep. Which might mean it’s not so easily reproducible on command. But still, it would be good to know what the secret is.

Anyway, whatever forces were at play—whether cosmic or somnolent—it was working, and I was bustling from job to job and basking in the glow of completion. Meanwhile, the kids were playing happily and quietly on their own, with not even a hint of squabble anywhere on the horizon. They were just happy and harmonious and having fun together—which I love even more than uber-productivity. Come to think of it, that was probably the key to making the magic happen. So the real question is: what circumstances coalesce to foster such salubrious sibling interaction? Ten to one it’s sleep. Again, perhaps not so easily reproducible on demand, but good to know.

Anyway, the point is that all was well. And then, while I was in the kitchen, I suddenly became aware of silence.

Uh-oh.

I stuck my head out the kitchen door. The kids were nowhere in sight, but the tracks of their recent passage were still fresh. A parade of animal figures stretched from the toy shelves under the windows across the end table, over a chair, and over the top of the radiator. Meanwhile, an expansive network of train tracks vied with the animals for the remaining floor space, and the puppet theater stood at the far end of the room with curtains drawn and puppets still lying on the stage (a puppet theater constructed of cardboard boxes and duct tape—not exactly Sound of Music, but the kids love it and will spend hours making paper puppets and scripting their productions). But no puppeteers or conductors or pied pipers.

Still, I had to smile. It’s amazing how much life they pack into such a little space.

I went in search of progeny, and soon discovered them in another room deeply immersed in a game of make believe. They were costumed in the finest linen fashions: bed sheets, blankets, towels, and pillowcases. When I stuck my head in, I heard things like: “Now you say, ‘You’ll never defeat me!’” and “Then he falls into a deep sleep” and “What about the pirates?”

I chuckled and went back to my dishes.

Sometimes you hear people talk as though kids were a hair-shirt. They aren’t. Kids are a joy. Mother Teresa, soon to be officially a saint (I can’t wait!), said that a child is “the greatest of gifts.” I agree, and would just add that kids are also a hoot to have around. Especially when everyone has had enough sleep.

Ah, life is good.

 

Copyright 2016 Jake Frost

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About Author

Jake Frost is the author of Catholic Dad, (Mostly) Funny Stories of Faith, Family and Fatherhood to Encourage and Inspire , also available as a $0.99 e-book on Amazon. He is a lawyer in hiatus, having temporarily traded depositions for diapers and court rooms for kitchens to care for his pre-school aged children. He comes from a large family in a small town of the Midwest, and lives near the Mississippi River with his wife and kids.

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