Gideon ambushed me from around the corner while I was brushing my teeth. He announced himself with a roar and then lunged through the doorway, stabbing me with a wooden sword. I tickled him with my left hand while I put my toothbrush away with the other and then spun around and lifted him in the air. I carried the laughing boy as far as the stairs where I was forced to place him back down and coughed several times from the exertion.

He frowned, “You are going to work today?”

“Yes. I am going to work. I’m sorry I can’t stay home and be sick every day. Like yesterday. That would be nice, right?”

He nodded his head and agreed.

“But!” I lifted his chin with my finger. “When I come home later today, we can go on a little trip to buy some birthday presents for mom. What do you think?”

“For mom?! Yes!” he pumped his fist in the air and ran up the steps to his room.

Later, as I was about to walk out the door I found him in the living room, changed out of his pajamas and struggling to get a pair of socks on his feet as quickly as possible. He saw me walking towards the door and called after me, “Oh no! Wait, I’m coming with you.”

“No no no. Not right now. Right now I’m going to my office to work for a while, but I’ll be back later and you can come with me then.”

“When?”

“Soon? I don’t know for sure. After lunch.”

“Oh, good. I just had lunch,” he motioned over his shoulder at the kitchen. “So, can I come with you now?”

“No. No, you had breakfast. Lunch is next.”

“But if I call it lunch can I come with you?”

“Unfortunately, it does not work that way.”

He looked at his socks that he had successfully pulled onto his feet. The grey heels gave away the fact that one was upside down and the other was sideways. “Alright,” he said finally as if we were negotiating a compromise. “So, I’ll just wait for you to come back then.”

“Yes. Good. I’ll try to not stay too late.”

“Okay. Well, I’ll just be in the driveway riding my bike in circles waiting for you to come back.”

“Just, um… That’s fine, but it will be a longer time than you are expecting…”

“It’s okay. I like to ride my bike. I’ll wait. See you later Dad!” And he charged past me and out the door to find his bicycle.