Where’s My Award?

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There’s no other way to say it. Plain and simple, I want an award.

I’ve worked hard all my life, obeyed all the laws of the land, tried to always do what was right, and been a good person. So, having done all that, I should get some kind of award.

But that’s just what I think. Let’s take a quick look back over the years, and you, Dear Reader, can be the judge. Should I get an award, or should I remain award-less?

During those seven magical years spent growing up back on Flamingo, I earned countless awards but never actually got any.

For example, when Big Brother James put that wad of sticky gum in The Sister’s hair, I wasn’t the one who told on him — Twin Brother Mark did.

And when my brothers ran around collecting all the candles in the house, even the expensive ones from Germany, and melted them down to make a special Valentine candle for Mom, I didn’t tell.

Of course, I did yell, because I was holding the glass when it shattered as Older Brother Richard poured the hot melted wax in. I should’ve gotten an award for both of these incidents, but I didn’t.

As an adult, I should’ve gotten so many awards I’ve lost count. It seems like I’m the only one who drives the posted speed limit on our local roads and on the highways. When folks pass giving me a one finger wave, I don’t get upset.

And when talking to friends and family, I’ve refrained from saying many things that really needed to be said. Not just because The Wife kicked me under the table or gave me a quick punch in the arm, but for showing so much restraint, I most certainly deserve some kind of award.

But it doesn’t stop there. I’ve done a bunch of award-worthy stuff around our house.

Just last week, a day before going on our spring break vacation with our granddaughters, I did all our laundry — and also theirs. When finished, I folded and hung everything up. If that doesn’t get me an award, nothing will.

I know because when The Wife got home, I told her all the things I had done and she smiled, “You should get an award.”

Why, yes. Yes, I should. And yet, I never got one.

There are countless times in our married life I should’ve gotten an award: Washing the dishes and then putting them away. Going grocery shopping and actually buying all the items on the list and not just what I want. Not being grumpy while having to wait for a table even with a reservation. Not being grumpy when our food arrives and it’s not what we ordered or having to tip 20% for bad service. Well, if I’m truthful, I shouldn’t have gotten an award for that last one because I really did get upset.  

Finally, as I put the girly girls to bed last night, I was thinking about all the time we’ve spent with them over the last eight years — all the adventures we’ve had together and all the stories they can now tell. Surely all of that deserves an award.

Then, out of nowhere, my award finally came. As I bent over, kissing each of them good night, I told them that in the morning we’d be leaving for the beach. They both said in unison, “Papa, we love you.”

As I sat down to read them a bedtime story, I realized the love from them, The Wife, my brothers, The Sister, and my parents has been the greatest reward I will ever receive.  

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001.]