"Just a minute, Bobby," she said, covering the phone.
"Mommy, how long's a minute?"
"Count to 60, and that'll be a minute."
Bobby began counting like he did for hide-and-seek before leaving the room.
"Not that fast or it won't be a minute. And not that loud either!" she called after him. "I'm sorry," she spoke into the receiver. When Bobby came back 60 seconds later, she shushed him and said, "Go see what your dad is up to."
Bobby's dejection turned to curiosity and excitement. He found his dad in the garage, tinkering with the car. "Whatcha doin'?" Bobby asked.
"Checkin' somethin' out. I'll be done in just a minute."
"Just a minute. That's what you always say. But it always takes longer."
"One day you'll understand, son."
And one day Bobby did understand. He understood what it was like to be busy. He understood what it was like to have bills and a job and a wife and kids. He also understood what it was like to live without his parents.
He wished he could have just a minute with them. Sometimes he wondered what it would be like. He rehearsed what he'd say, but it was no use. He'd never get a minute, and even if it were possible, it wouldn't be enough. If God gave him a minute, he'd ask for a day. If he got a day, why not a week? a month? a year?
Anyway, Bobby understood what it was like to have work follow him home and home follow him to work. Case in point: his daughter had come to work with him today. She was out of school for a holiday; work never got a holiday. It seemed that way, at least. There were always more numbers to calculate, more phone calls to make, more emails to check.
He was in the middle of one such email, an important one at that, when his Natalie said, "Daddy, I finished my picture."
"That's great, honey," he said without looking. Feeling slightly guilty, he added,"Give me just a minute." He'd said it flippantly, but the familiarity of it caught his attention. "Just a minute." He meant it.
In just a minute, Natalie was in his lap, "helping" him with emails--her newly finished picture taped carefully to the wall.
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