"Not coming," said Mrs. Cratchit.
"Not coming!" said Bob, with a sudden declension in his high spirits; for he had been Tim's blood horse all the way from church, and had come home rampant. "Not coming upon Christmas Day!"
Martha didn't like to see him disappointed, if it were only in joke; so she came out prematurely from behind the closet door, and ran into his arms, while the two young Cratchits hustled Tiny Tim, and bore him off into the wash-house, that he might hear the pudding singing in the copper.
Bob Cratchit is almost too perfect. Leafing through my copy of A Christmas Carol, I can't find a single instance where he loses his temper, utters an unkind word, or pisses in Scrooge's ink well. He endures Scrooge's abuse without a hint of malice. His kids adore him, and he's a pillar of fatherhood. Patient. Loving. Compassionate. He's so good that his kids can't even play a joke on him without feeling twinges of guilt. Martha, his daughter, can't stand to see him upset.
My daughter woke me up this morning at around 3 a.m. She's been staying up late since summer vacation started, and she's been sleeping in until 11 a.m. or noon. "Daddy," she whispered, "I haven't been able to fall asleep all night." She was absolutely miserable. Over-tired and wound as tight as a ball of twine. I get up at 4 a.m. for work. All I wanted to do was go back to sleep, but I told my daughter to climb into bed with me and my wife. I held her close, and I sang her "Hush, Little Baby." I said a prayer with her, and I tried to relax her with deep breathing. When my alarm went off at four o'clock, we were both still wide awake. I wanted to cry.
Instead, I dragged myself out of bed with my daughter. We stumbled to the bathroom together, and I started a hot shower for her, thinking it might relax her. Then I went about getting ready for work. When I left our home, she was tucked back into bed next to my wife, who slept through the entire insomnia episode. As I drove up our street, away from our house, I said a little prayer for my daughter. I knew she was lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, wide awake. I prayed that she would find peace of mind and heart. I prayed that her eyes would grow heavy. I prayed that rest would find her.
I'm not Bob Cratchit. I make mistakes as a father. Lots and lots of mistakes. But sometimes I get it right. Before I left for work, my daughter hugged me, whispered, "Thank you, Daddy."
Saint Marty had a good Bob Cratchit moment today.
|Robert Young ain't got nothin' on me|