“Can I have a horse, Dad?”
“Can I have a dog, then?”
“No. Ask Tim Challies about that.”
“What about a hamster?”
“Come on, girls, you know what happened to the last one.”
My daughters (10&8) and I have this conversation quite regularly, probably every two months. And I’ve held out, heroically. Until this week, that is. I finally succumbed on Thursday. And what breached my hitherto impregnable defenses?
Yes, chicks! I know, its pathetic isn’t it.
They spied baby chickens at Farm & Household on Thursday, came home, and begged and begged until at last I yielded when they promised that it would only be for six weeks; then they would go to a farm or homestead.
Two almost sleepless nights followed as they excitedly looked forward to picking them up on Saturday. “CHICKS, CHICKS, CHICKS” was written with highlighter on their calendar.
For them, Saturday morning passed like a year as I worked on building a retaining wall in our yard. They hovered nearby to make sure I lived long enough to pick up the little creatures.
Having got everything ready to house and care for the anticipated new arrivals, we jumped in the car after a barely-eaten lunch, and drove the short distance while the new chick experts twittered away about their plans for the unsuspecting birds. We tried to calm them down, as I said to my wife, like only a good Scottish Calvinist would, “This can only end in tears!” (Little did I know…)
They sprinted ahead of us towards the chick bins, but when we finally caught up, we could tell from their faces that disaster had struck.
“They’re gone, Daddy!”
By now the tears were welling.
“Don’t worry, girls, I’m sure there’ll be more.”
“Afraid not,” said the assistant, “Not till next Spring.”
OK, now I start worrying…as the tears start flowing (mainly theirs).
The assistant then threw me a lifeline: “You might be able to get some if you travel up North….”
Four wet eyes look up at Daddy, plaintively.
What happened next? That’s the parental challenge of the week! What are my options? What would you have done? What spiritual/life lessons would you try to teach in this situation?
Let me have your suggestions, and tomorrow I’ll tell you what I actually did.
Hope you won’t hate me for it!