I was determined to reach the eye of the storm with minimal casualties. Tension attacked my senses from every angle, leaving me rattled.
A mid-afternoon sun burned through the large floor to ceiling windows. Teasing me. Warming my body and taunting me with perfect, blue skies. I should be on the other side of this storm. The security of distance, minimizing devastation. If I moved quickly, I could make my escape.
“I can’t use any other pencil!” Her voice, now laced with brevity, echoed throughout the kitchen. I was too late. This wasn't in the forecast. Where was the sing-song voice of five minutes ago? The one that laughed, while explaining a quirky art project.
The wildness of her gaze ignited shivers throughout my body. I could imagine this tirade being heard blocks away, riding along lazy winds, throughout the tall oaks and sturdy, green cedars. Finally, resting upon poor unsuspecting neighbors. They would have no warning of the pencil-forced winds.
My heart rate thumped inside my chest as I debated options. Child #1 and #2 would have seen the result of my chronic impatience. With Child #3, I am tired. Or possibly smarter? Yes, I will go with the latter on this.
I scavenged my brain for resources.
Ah ha! Opening my bag, careful not to make any sudden moves, I searched for the one thing that may save us.
“Here, use one of mine.” My voice stern, yet calm. I waited. It wasn't the same brand. Nor the same color, but I had nothing else to offer.
Brown eyes, identical to my own, shifted slowly from the mangled junk drawer to my outstretched hand. Her small shoulders lifted as she took in a deep breath and reluctantly lowered with a forced exhale. Easing the drawer shut, her bare feet shifted with indecisiveness. I waited.
Within seconds, she made her move. Grasping the peace-offering from my clammy hands, she mumbled something. Something that I will count as a thank you. I watched her retreat to her homework and counted the minutes until bedtime. (Four hours and thirty-seven minutes. If we were lucky.)
"You're welcome." My words strong and clear.
Waiting for the next round, I sank slowly into a dining room chair, taking comfort from the solid, wood frame. The sound of a pencil scratching across paper became a welcome reprieve from the turbulence walls still circling. With twenty years of parenting under my belt, I have learned one thing. The eye of the storm is always short-lived.
Unwelcome premonitions tickled my subconscious and my mind settled on one conclusion: Karma sucks.