Our dishwasher died the week of Thanksgiving. I knew it was sick; it had been for a long time. After some surgery and nursing, I was able to use the machine to clean the last of the dishes from our big dinner, but on Black Friday, it finally gave up the ghost.
My husband, Ben, and I went to Lowes to buy a new one. To expedite the process, we picked from the dishwashers they had in stock and scheduled for delivery as soon as possible, which turned out to be about ten days later. When the big day finally arrived, the technician called to tell me that the store had sold our dishwasher, and there were no more in stock.
However, a new, replacement dishwasher had been ordered and it was expected to be at the store in a week. To date, we have been told that the new dishwasher is in town, and we are scheduled for install on December 22. Just in time for Christmas.
I was handwashing dishes before supper while waiting on what was in the stove to finish cooking when my phone rang. I quickly wiped one wet, wrinkled finger on the towel that I had spread on the counter to serve as the landing for clean dishes and then swiped it across my phone to answer.
It was Ben. He and our son Jack had gone outside earlier. Both of them had woken up on the wrong side of the bed that morning, and they both came home from work and school with a short fuse. I had asked the two of them to find something active to do, hoping that some fresh air and exercise would help.
Out of breath, he said, “Hey. … Do. Do you want to come outside? … Come to the front … to see your son.”
I turned off the water at the sink and properly dried my hands with a fresh towel I pulled from the drawer as I walked to the glass front door. When I stepped outside on the porch, I didn’t see them. Just as I was starting to wonder if they were playing a trick on me, to my right, a boy on a red bicycle and his dad running just behind were coming my way.
Jack got this red bicycle for Christmas last year. It was big, but he is big and Santa thought he could handle it. Many afternoons this year were spent out in the field across from our house with Jack learning to balance himself, take off and stop. Many lessons ended in tears and slammed doors, and the bike has sat dormant for a few months.
I didn’t know what to do. With tears streaming down my face, I was afraid that if I got too loud and excited, it would distract Jack and he would fall. But I didn’t want him to think that I wasn’t impressed.
“There she is,” I heard Ben say to Jack as he was running behind. “You keep your eyes in front of you … but she is on the porch … watching you.”
“Jack!” I couldn’t help myself. “Look at you! You are doing it!” I was jumping up and down, my hands in the air.
I saw him just barely peek over at me with a side eye and a smirk. The first semblance of happiness I had seen out of him all day. Pride and the rush of accomplishment was motivating him, and I was getting to witness it.
“Be careful, Jack,” I called out, unable to stop the words from coming out of my mouth.
“Ahh, he’s doing great,” Ben said back. “Keep looking ahead, Jack … You’ve got this.” Jack zoomed by the front of the house and made a turn so he could loop back. All the while he looked like some older version of my first-born baby boy.
“I am glad you are here,” I told Ben later that night. “I know that sounds strange. But I am glad you are the one who is teaching Jack to ride a bike.”
He is a good husband, but an even better father. It’s a quality that makes him even more endearing to me, and having him in our lives is something that I don’t ever want him to think I take for granted.
He laughed and gave me that same side-eye I had seen from Jack earlier. I could tell he was proud of what he had accomplished too.
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