I was cooking tonight, my newly-minted beef stir fry (sorry vegos:).
The light hummed above my head, in tune with the sizzling of my feverish stirring.
Hot Seat blaring loudly enough from the lounge-room so I can hear the questions which I shout answers to. Do I really think that Eddie can hear me?
Nothing unusual about the whole scene.
But tonight is that special night that comes every year in Canberra. It’s the night when I realise that the season has changed. It’s nearly dark already. Certainly dark enough to disallow the safe preparation of a stir-fry. Maybe that it why I get that old familiar feeling. But it may be the cold. The dark and the cold always arrive in my consciousness together.
So, before the cooking, I make the decision. Turn on the heater. Sure, I turned on the heater last night, but that was later in the evening. Tonight, my decision comes much earlier. It’s not even six and the decision is right.
In the kitchen, the warmth slowly creeps in to meet the heat of the magnificent stir fry stir frying it’s way into existence. The wall of slight cold on my back is steadily thawed. It’s a lovely feeling and it is part of what makes me take note of the evening.
Tonight, as the tension built on the big $100,000 question, I raced to the lounge, ready to rejoice alongside the lady who, as Eddie had carefully explained, was on the cusp of losing her family home.
So, that is all good.
But when I did dash into the room, I was taken back by an entirely different thought. I had the most warming sequence of memories for the sister day across the past twenty years. I remembered all the times I would do the very same, or similar thing, but in the years gone by I would be met with my girls lounging (as is where the name come from) in the lounge room.
Snug as bugs. Little georgous, wonderful bugs. All snug.
I remembered the feeling so vividly. That strange but so welcome sense that all was right in the world. There they were, the snug bugs.
I would then take every opportunity away from cooking to go back in, to take another peek. I would pretend I was watching TV but I was really just looking at my two little bugs – the snug ones.
Sometimes one of them would catch me out. When younger, they would smile, perhaps even run into your arms. Later they may have just stare a good ‘whatever’ Each of these are moments of pure joy.
Tonight, I realised that it was the warmth of the heater that really is the harbinger of this joy. It is the underlay of the whole momentous moments where a dad just feels good about the whole thing. He has provided warmth on the first cold, dark night of the year.
Tonight, I pray for one thing. That each dad has the heat to provide for his kids. I pray that he too can stand on the side and watch his loved children slowly creep toward tiredness as the warmth he brings to them hugs them with his virtual love.