Reflection

Your eyes squeezed tight, small arms wrapped around my neck with the grip of a sailor, a body so small and warm, full of love, wonder and amazement.  I can do no wrong, say what I please and its funny. You love me.

A lizard in a hand, dirt under your nails; you ask questions about anything and everything.  Why is the sky blue dad, why are the stars bright dad, why do cats hate water dad, when is mommy coming home dad, why do you burp when you drink soda dad? They never stop these questions.  Secretly, even though I sigh the heavy sigh while moving in and around the house with you in tow, I like these questions.  You son are developing a sense of inquisitiveness that is inspirational. I answer each one the very best I can and the look on your face after each answer is priceless.  You love me.

Crying, screaming, it can’t be done dad! There is no possible way! Horrible shrieks of nonsensical gibberish spew forth from your mouth as time after time I push, you fall.  Peddle I scream, leave me alone you bellow in return, NO I retort; now point it straight and peddle the darn bike! Gritted teeth, glare of a thousand deaths and finally you are riding your bike! No more falling down, no more drama or tears, no more hearing “I can’t” leaking from your lips! You ride by me, big gaping smile, laughing, giggling, and then laughing some more. I have set you free, you love me…

Getting up to one knee, tears streaming down your face, I walk towards you fighting every urge to run. As a young person striving to become every bit the man you envision nothing would destroy your self-proclaimed reputation more than your father running towards you after you have fallen down. For the tears are not for any pain you may feel, a scrape, broken bone, or sprain. No the tears come from the second of fear you felt as this 1000 pound animal got the best of you, the tears also hold a smidge of anger.  Anger within yourself as you didn’t sit that ride; you knew better than to give to this studs unyielding ways but as he charged and bucked at another horse you looked where you shouldn’t have looked, pulled when you shouldn’t have pulled squeezed when you shouldn’t have squeezed and he got the best of you.  Oh don’t get me wrong, you rode him long and far (for that I am beaming with pride) but in the end the horse won out and that tear of embarrassment stings the most.  So up you stand dusting yourself off, clearing your spurs, wiping the dirt from your face.  Walking across the arena you gather him back up as he stands patiently waiting for you, wondering himself what just happened.  You have forgiven him because it’s in your nature, but he will not get the best of you again.  You ride by me; smile a dirt covered smile and then slide slowly back into the herd.  You love me…

Got one! A message relayed time and again from both sides of the boat as fish after glorious fish are reeled in, then landed.  My daughter on one side, my youngest son on the other with my oldest and middle son working the lines helping me keep tangles from happening and hooks filled with bait.  Somewhere in the middle of our journey I gave up fishing for myself.  The two older boys seeing their dad tire from keeping lines jump in to help take the pressure off.  We all laugh as the middle son talks my daughter into kissing the fish! But kiss the fish she does and then tosses back into his face! We laugh and laugh some more as stripers are caught and tossed back into the water. One child hooks a flounder and another lands the largest crawfish I have ever laid eyes upon! As the sun slips out of sight our old blue boat slowly putts its way back to the dock. Not a noise can be heard as they all stare off into the distance, tired, well fed and filled with family.  They love me..

You left in a hurry, a trip of great importance, wishing I hugged you one more time, I am left here wondering how things are going, what is happening, who you are meeting, if it’s all you dreamed it would be! Time ticks away and I act like it’s no big deal but inside my stomach is turning in knots! You have spent your entire life trying your best and with small adjustments here and there you always have succeeded.  I know this is what you want, I know it means a new start and I must let you go, but my heart aches at the prospect.  So I wait..  12 hours, 14 hours, like a faithful hound dog, I wait and wonder..  You send me a picture of you and your childhood friend, smiling from ear to ear holding acceptance certificates! You have succeeded like I always knew you would, my eyes are filled with tears, my throat is tight and dry, and soon you will be leaving us. It hurts but feels so good at the same time.  The first on my side of the family to get into a four-year college, your mother and I are beside ourselves!  Pride, joy, and excitement fill my senses as we look forward to all that awaits you.  As your father, you became everything I dreamed you would be and the world is just waiting for you to take it and do with it what you want.  I love you…

I am a lucky man to have four children to love; they have filled my life with emotions I never dreamed possible.  Each one of those paragraphs describes a moment spent individually with a child, starting then ending with my oldest.   These are moments that will forever resonate inside me for one reason or another; a look, a smile, a tear, some pain; They are all important and weave the fabric that is our family.

I am lucky to be so loved…..

 

 

 

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