Barking at Breakfast

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"Barking at breakfast" by Jake Frost (CatholicMom.com)

By Giovanni Antonio Cybei (1706-1784). Photo: Samuele (talk · contribs) (English: Own work.Italiano: Fatta da me.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It started innocently enough. I had just finished making breakfast and setting the table when I sat down with my cup of coffee. It was still the shadowy cool of the morning, with a fresh breeze blowing in through the open window, gently ruffling the curtains. “Breakfast time!” I called and listened to the scampering of feet coming from points throughout the house.

My third-grader arrived first. “Hey Dad,” she said, “listen to this and guess what song I’m barking!”

Did I say barking?

Yes, yes I did.

Why bark a song, you ask?

Why not? I answer.

She launched into a barking rendition of “Sleigh Ride.” Truth to tell, it was pretty good, as canine Christmas carols go. She can actually carry a tune, even in chihuahua.

As the other kids arrived they joined in the fun and soon “ruff” renditions of the whole Christmas canon were breaking out all around the table. And it was just July — but then, some people bark Christmas songs all year long.

I sipped my coffee amid the cacophony of yips and yaps from four kids forming an impromptu canine choir, and as I contemplated the baying over the bagels I thought: barking at breakfast, maybe it’s a Dominican charism?

Then, in the swirl of this joyful confusion, the third-grader who’d started it all suddenly stopped barking and sat silent with a puzzled expression on her face.

“Wait a minute,” she said, “I don’t even know what I’m barking.”

I burst out laughing.

But she showed good instincts in stopping. How often do we continue barking away long after we’ve lost sight of what the barking’s all about?

It’s easy to get caught up in frenzy, in frenetic activity and the mad melee of motion for the sake of motion alone, going we know not where but striving to get there as fast as possible.

Sometimes the most important thing we can do is nothing.

There’s tremendous value in a break, in stopping to smell the roses and giving ourselves time to take fresh bearings.

Sometimes you have to stop the barking to find the tune again.

My daughter found her groove again, and I drank a coffee toast to letting the sweet music back into our busy lives once more.


Copyright 2018 Jake Frost

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About Author

Jake Frost is the author of The Happy Jar (a children’s picture book) and Catholic Dad, (Mostly) Funny Stories of Faith, Family and Fatherhood to Encourage and Inspire. 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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