My family came by my office this afternoon. My kids came charging down the hallway and exploding through the door like a team of commandos. The oldest kicking the door off its hinges while the younger rolled between her legs and across the room. Sprinting, somersaulting, cartwheeling their way into what had just moments ago been a peaceful place of solitude and thoughtfulness. Like a college lecture on the history of modern medicine interrupted suddenly by a Kool-Aid commercial.

My coworker tried his best to politely ignore the fact that we had been invaded.

Before the girls had made it to my side of the office, their mother walked through the smoldering hole in the wall with a little boy held tightly in her arms. When he saw me and the girls, he fought his way to the ground and ran to join the party. He grabbed onto my pant leg as I stood up from my chair to greet them. The girls danced circles around my desk asking for treats from the candy drawer in high pitch tones nearly outside the range of my human ear. I gasped for air as they all pressed in around me. My wife slowly crossed the room with a smile that seemed to say, “For five more seconds they are your problem, and not mine. Maybe even ten seconds if I walk slow enough.”

I looked down at the tiny swarm of children, the hungry toothless piranhas. Gideon smiled as we made eye contact, and he quickly raised his pudgy hands into the air, “Aup?” he asked. I lifted him to my chest with a heave. He ran his hand along my chin and burrowed his head into my shoulder. Then I heard him whisper to himself, through all the chaos and noise and stamping feet and tornado of motion, quietly into my chest, he said “Daddy home…”

“Yes,” I agreed, and pat him gently on the back of the head with my hand.