The second we heard the low murmuring of the garage door, three sets of big blue eyes brightened:
Racing down the steps, three pairs of tiny feet padded across the carpet, on a mission to reach the side door first.
We knew our timeline; 30 seconds after the garage door gears began grinding, he would walk through that dirty cream door, stained with greasy streaks from our pudgy hands.
Familiar smells of fresh baked bread and spaghetti sauce flooded our noses as our mom worked in her sunset colored apron, a slight smile playing on her lips as we charged toward the door.
The sizzling of the stove made our ears sing as we absorbed the childlike euphoria of experiencing love through all of our senses; the food that would be on our tongues, the feeling of our father’s arms, the smell of our mom’s seasonal candle burning faithfully on the table, and the sight of colorful plastic cups/holy grails holding our thick, creamy chocolate milk.
He stepped through the door, and we always knew what to expect, a crisp button up with a clean charcoal suit and a patterned tie he’d let us pick the night before.
A big hand with a gold ring would open the door and he’d pop in his head, dark brown hair and bright blue-grey eyes; our favorite 6 o’clock sight.
Oh he knew the drill; he’d set down his briefcase and step down the small set of family room stairs, extending his arms. Three little kids would line up in the kitchen like a row of blonde baby ducks, one at a time lumbering through the dining room and off the steps like a crazed plane on a runway, into his strong arms.
And he always caught us.