The glistening body of a dark snake slithers into the brush two paces away from where my child is playing. I bite back a yelp as I fly to my feet, whip Teddy into my arms, then make a mad dash to our sliding glass door. Heat rises to my face, hotter than the sun that peeks through the blinds knocking in the breeze.
I check Teddy over for damage and observe nothing but a healthy glow and a grin to boot. Phew. That was a close one. But what can I expect with a house this close to the lake?
I shift out of sight, away from the neighbours’ lingering looks…always curious about my doings—wondering if I actually enjoy my work.
Sitting on the floor, I flood the space between me and my son with educational toys, teaching and laughing as Teddy soaks it all in. His eyes light up like a Jack-o’-Lantern at each new colour, sound, or tune. My deep sigh of satisfaction gets interrupted by the insistent buzz of my phone.
“Hi Babe,” comes my spouse’s voice through the speaker.
“How’s your work day going?” I ask.
“Not bad…a bit hectic, but that’s to be expected.” Taylor’s breath hitches with the
temptation to groan, “All the roadblocks in the CBD made for a slow start, but thankfully I got
into the office on time. How’s Teddy?”
I begin to reel off the lessons we’ve been working through. “I will never regret the decision to leave the office and stay at home with our son,” I finish.
Taylor asks what the rest of our day entails, and I list off plans like a child catalogues their best Christmas presents. Lunch…nap…shops…play in the park…walk around the lake…prep dinner.
Nothing unusual, but anticipation slinks in the corners of my mind as I consider Teddy’s potential to mimic a new word, find a new trinket, or learn a new trick—all while we turn heads. And we always turn heads.
“Sounds fun, Sam. I’ll be home for dinner,” Taylor says before hanging up.
The promise of adventure coaxes us outdoors. We stop to watch the ducks dive in the murky depths of the lake while a tree shades us from the setting sun. A woman stops to coo at Teddy then asks what I do for a living.
“Teddy’s my full-time job,” I say.
And although I see the woman’s mouth purse, the expected double-take doesn’t follow. She offers a contemplative smile with her farewell, then looks back with raised eyebrows and a slow nod.
Back at home, I swing dinner preparation into full motion. Then, the moment I’ve been waiting for arrives with a jangle of the screen door. My wife is home from work.
The three of us are reunited…a family. I set the knife down as she approaches my side, runs a hand down my beard, and kisses me.
“Good day at work, Samuel?” Taylor asks, stealing a glance at Teddy.
My reply is seasoned with a low chuckle.
“Great day, as always.”