Scott, my husband of seventeen years, arrived home from work in a stormy mood. I only caught a glimpse of his dark eyes under angry brows before he disappeared into the den. I had learned the hard way that it’s better to wait until he comes out. I turned the heat down on the spaghetti. It might be a while before we were ready to eat.
The back door banged open, and Kevin, our youngest child, said “Hi, Mom. Is Dad home yet? I have to talk to him.”
“Yes, honey, Dad’s home, but he’s resting. Can you wait until supper?”
“This is really important. I’ll just go in and ask him real fast, then let him rest.”
I followed him through the kitchen and into the hall. “Kevin, sweetheart, I don’t think that’s a good idea right….”
He was already at the door of the den, turning the knob. With his head poked in the door, he said, “Dad, can I come in? I gotta ask you something.” There was no reply, but he went in anyway. The door closed again.
I went back to the kitchen, checked the progress of our evening meal, making sure it was turned low enough that it wouldn’t burn. I went into the family room off the kitchen, and sat down with a book in hand. Kevin would be out shortly, disappointed and deflated. I would have to distract him until supper time.
Jillian, age eleven, came into the den. “Mom, when’s supper? I’d like to go to the movie with Mari and Jessie tonight.”
“Supper will be a little late. Your dad came home and went straight to his den.”
“Oh, one of those days?”
“Where’s Kevin? Isn’t he home from school yet?”
“Yes, he came home all excited about something, and went straight into the den. I tried to stop him…”
“Poor kid. He’ll know better next time. Can I just get a snack, in case I need to leave before supper is ready?”
“Go ahead and fix your plate, honey. The food is ready whenever we are.”
I tried to read, while listening for any sign of trouble, but there was only muted sound from the den. Ten minutes passed. Fifteen. The book was still open, but I had gone into prayer mode, interceding for my child as though he were in the clutches of a dragon. After another fifteen minutes, the door opened, and a mixture of deep male laughter and small boy glee floated into the hall. I returned to the kitchen to finish supper preparations, bursting to know what had happened in the man cave.
As we sat down for supper, Kevin looked as if he would explode. We bowed while Scott asked for a blessing on the meal.
I opened the conversation by asking Scott, “How was your day, sweetheart?”
“Work was the usual, a little rougher. We lost an account today.”
“Will it make a difference in our income?”
“Not much, but it will be hard to replace that account in this economy.”
Kevin could no longer keep quiet. “Dad, can I tell it now?”
“Go ahead, son.”
“Dad and I are going camping with the scout troop! It’s gonna be so much fun!”
I looked at Scott to see if Kevin was telling the truth. He nodded back at me.
“What happened in there, Scott. You’ve never gone camping in all the years we’ve been married.”
“You’re right, darling, I haven’t. I’ve been trying hard to do a good job for my company, and I didn’t think I could take the time. Today, I realized I don’t have much control over what happens in my job. The only place where I can truly make a difference is here. And now.”
I had a dozen questions, but none of them were appropriate for the family dinner table, so I stuffed them away for a better time. Turning back to Kevin, I asked, “When is this camping trip? What can I do to help you get ready?”
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