Dad gets Son out of his cot and holds him in the air while he puts on his coat, hat, and gloves. Son digs his head into Dad's shoulder and falls back to sleep.
They both head home, listening to music, because Son is a musical child in every way possible.
They arrive at their building, but Son refuses to walk. He is tired, and Dad is tired, but like paper beats rock Son's tiredness beats Dad's. Dad carries Son up to the building, his face smushed into his coat.
Dad sees something inside the common area. Right under the mail slots.
It is a box.
It's a cube, actually, and very heavy. It has dad's name on it, but dad doesn't recognize the return address. Mom has probably purchased something, and since it's addressed to Dad it might be a present he's not supposed to open, lest he sleep on the couch for the rest of the holiday season.
So with one hand holding his heavy three-year-old who should be able to walk himself up the stairs, and the other hand holding a package that is rapidly ripping his bicep in half, Dad trudges up the stairs, angry that Mom has bought him something so heavy.
I mean, it's not like he needs anything that big. Mom should get herself something nice instead -- preferably something light.
Son wakes up just as they enter the apartment. Dad sighs and sets Son and box (oops, I mean cube) on the living room floor. Son runs in circles until Mom gets home. Dad ignores box, because he is angry at it for being heavy and he has to stop Son from destroying their apartment.
Mom gets home and says, "What's that?"
Dad says, "It's something you ordered for me, isn't it?"
"I didn't order anything. Especially not something for you!" (She didn't really say this last part because she is nice, but isn't it a funny line?)
"Whatever it is, I'll look at it later. We have dinner to prepare and a little guy to entertain."
Dad, Mom, and Son eat dinner. They tell each other about their day and laugh a lot. Boy gets into lots of trouble, because he's three and that's what three-year-old people do.
After dinner, while cleaning up, Mom notices two things: "We are out of pull-ups, and that box is from New York. I think you need to open it."
As Dad is opening the box, it dons on him what is inside before he even sees the cover of his book plastered over ARC copies. This is the first time he has seen it in physical form, typeset and beautiful.
"Whoa," Dad says, because he is channeling Bill and Ted. "This is really cool, but we still need pull-ups."
Dad gets back in the car with Son, which is much easier this time because Son is willing to walk. Together, they go to the store and get pull-ups, but the entire time Dad is thinking about the box of books. He has waited a long time to see them. It is a very wonderful moment, and totally worth lugging them up the stairs with a heavy dude in his arms.
Dad gets home and sleeps with one of the books under his pillow, because he really is that weird sometimes.