Like a double rainbow that reaches right across the sky, the perfect days come to lift your chin towards the smile of the Gods and when you look back down again there are medals of valor and honor and effort taking up so much of your food and spew-and underarm-stained shirt that you just know you’ll be asked to march in a parade at some stage in your celebrated future.
Rescued From The Old Blog
At Kinder Gym this morning three year old Lewis said, ‘Toilet please, Daddy’ as politely and as quietly as pie, even though he was halfway through navigating a very exciting maze of Styrofoam stuffed bags and cushions. After the class he handed another boy his missing shoe and when the boy’s mother got down on her knees, took Lewis by the hands and said, ‘Thank you so much,’ we both stood there together, with our chins down, smiling shyly, Lewis because he was proud of himself and me because I was looking at another shiny medal .
There was yet another medal waiting its pinning when we went to pick up four year old Archie. His Kindergarten teacher said, ‘He’s such a wonderful classmate. He always listens and helps the other kids. He’s a real joy,’ and I was so soupy with pride and fatigued by the weight of my decorated shirt that I could only mouth a soundless Thank you and give a little ‘fingers only’ wave.
Later, standing in Reservoir Mum’s University office as I handed Tyson over for a breastfeed , we were swamped by her baby-intoxicated colleagues and while Archie and Lewis waited by my side patiently I was told, ‘Wow, he looks so much like you’ and ‘You are such a great Dad’ and ‘I don’t know how you do it’ and then I just shrugged and leaned against the wall like James Dean, and as Tyson and RM were nourishing and bonding, one colleague after the other rushed in to squeal and dance and honour me to death by public medal-ing.
I carried my James Dean cool as we waved everyone goodbye and then, as we drove out of the car park I switched on the radio and unfortunately the news was on and we heard this: ‘. . . investigating an early morning assault of a man who hit his head on the pavement after being king hit at a convenience store. He is currently in hospital in a critical condition.’
‘Daddy,’ Archie says. ‘Did you hear that?’
‘What’s that, Arch?’ I say.
‘A man fell down and hit his head.’
‘Um… Yeah, a man fell down. But he’ll be okay.’
‘Why did he fall down?’
‘I um… think he tripped over, Arch,’ I say, trying to shield him from life’s horrors.
‘Or maybe someone pushed him over?’
‘Well, if someone did that I hope the police get him and put him in jail.’
After a moment’s silence Archie says, ‘Dad, if that happened to Lewis, I would miss him.’
‘I wouldn’t let that happen to Lewis, Arch,’ I say.
‘Yeah, but if it did happen,’ Archie says, frowning, ‘I would get that man and push him down as well.’
‘Umm, well it’s not such a good thing to…. hurt other people, even if…’
‘Yeah and I would PILL him!’ Lewis yells, raising a fist. (Pill = kill in Lewis language.)
‘Well, no,’ I say. ‘Because—’
‘And Dad,’ Archie says. ‘I would get all my friends to help me kill him too.’
‘Boys,’ I say, searching desperately, sensing my double rainbow dulling behind a greying misty rain. ‘Mahatma Gandhi used to say that those who—’
‘And then we would put him in the river,’ Archie says.
‘And make him nude to go in the water without his pyjamas,’ Lewis says, baring his teeth.
‘Oh yeah,’ Archie continues. ‘And just put him in the river alive so he will float away.’
‘Um, yep,’ Lewis says.
‘Hey look, kids,’ I say. ‘That tree over there looks like Mr Messy!’
Thankfully the news ends and the music starts, but as I look to the sky I see the clouds coming in and the gods have directed thier smile towards someone else, and as my vengeful children plot their acts of violence behind me I clasp the left side of my shirt, to guard it, because even though I’ll concede that my chances of being asked to march in a parade are now looking slim, I’ll be dammed if I’ll let anyone take these hard earned medals away.