“Once, there were four brothers who lived on a farm with their mum and their dad. There would’ve been five but the first brother born had died. One day, the four brothers…”
Every night at bedtime, Rick weaves a story about ‘the four brothers’ from his imagination.
He does this in the middle boys’ room. Pete and Jamie are usually under their sheets, Angus likes to sit in the rocking chair, and Rick himself lies down on the floor, with his back against the bunk bed and Bear sitting on top of him.
Even though the four brothers are never named in the story, they are, of course, our four boys.
Angus is “the oldest brother” Pete is the “second oldest brother,” Jamie is “the third oldest brother,” and Bear is “the youngest brother.”
Every night, the four brothers find themselves embarking on an adventure, resolving a difficult situation, or learning a new life lesson of some sort.
They have fought fires, flown rescue helicopters, extended fences, built dams, found gold mines, and gone abseiling. They also plant crops, mow lawns, chop wood, clean chicken sheds, move cattle from paddock to paddock, serve at the local church, lend support to the minister, repair other people’s houses, cook dinners for mum, and play jokes on each other.
Through each one of Rick’s stories, I see glimpses of his own childhood, his hopes for our children, and a parallel universe that is both familiar and aspirational.
Sometimes I only catch parts of his story as I potter up and down the corridor putting clothes away.
Sometimes I lie down next to him, close my eyes, and try to imagine the six of us in the world that he paints.
Other times, I stand just outside the bedroom – completely mesmerised by the sound of Rick’s voice and in awe of the man who is my husband and the father of all my children…
(For every day of this month, as part of my January creative project, I will be sharing a story in this space, whether in words or in pictures.)