Be quiet. They don’t know. Shhhh! Let them believe a little longer.
You didn’t know? They still believe in the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.
It’s true. None of the kids let them know any different at school.
This morning, I turned down the radio. NPR is talking about three hundred
children stolen from a school in Africa. The kids are
strapped in behind my seat singing Princess songs.
Let it Go. Let it Go. I turned off the radio.
I think of them right now. Tucked in bed. Their
dreams must be filled with candy corn and cartoons.
Playing on the playground at school. Maybe reliving
a fall or two.
As the adults prepare for tomorrow. They don’t know.
The chores we do in the background. Keeping the boat
afloat. They don’t know how I battle with dust and dead
ants. How I’ve turned chores into an existential
examination between the macro and the micro.
I am the father. Cast through DNA.
The role I play is protector. Shhhh! Let them sleep.
The clock is ticking by as the days fly by. Each day the
cat hair layers the fresh ground. Just mopped. Just
vacuumed. It piles deep. The crazy ants we keep
away through the poison we spray. Time is on a different
scale to them.
At their size they seem to be dirt. They continue
to trace the same paths into our home from the earth,
to find solace. Only to die in huge piles. Stepping on each
other’s body moving closer to their final trial. Their goal,
a spec of food from a cookie. Old cat food in the bowl the
cats think is always empty which is always half full.
As our children lie in bed tonight, so many functions give and take.
Electricity bills come as hot water fills another tank.
This will be the home where they will remember sharing
a room. Being in school together. Learning to
ride bikes with their daddy. The love their mother gave
them that no father ever could. For she is the Easter Bunny,
Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, all in one. All summer, playing
in their own yard. Playing tag and doing cartwheels till called in.
Proudly decorating the dinner table and windows for everyone for every holiday.
This memory is as half gone as it will be half full in theirs.
Decades from now, this home will fill them full of happiness
knowing they helped paint the walls when these concrete
blocks needed another coat to grow old with them.
This fleeting innocence resides now. So fast. Let it last.
Let us grasp it today. Let us let this innocence stay.
I pray for them tonight. Please help me protect them
and keep them safe as the world trumpets chaos.
Let their dreams be filled with cotton candy and unicorns.
Guided by a family that loves them more
than they will ever know. Flawed as we are we try so.