As I climb the ladder to my memory collection, much like the world’s largest library, my mind slides back and forth like that ladder as if putting books back on the shelf. I see sad memories, delightful memories, short memories, recurrent memories and that memory, the one that is waiting to be heard, wrapped in satin and warmth and tied with a bow of safety. Of course, it’s home, yet it’s a different house and a different time. My boys are small again and I have a chance to see them as they used to be, before they became men. I miss them. If you have a child, close your eyes and remember the smell of their hair after their bath as they crawl up in your lap just to be held or rocked. Maybe they were scared, maybe they were just sleepy and wanted that feeling of security. Do you remember, is it coming back to you? The care, nurture and work it took to get them to kindergarten and hating to leave them. Yes, I was one of those dads that always went to the first day of school with my boys and I would do it all over again. I wish in this memory I could go back and change a few things, things that would have somehow made it easier for them, a better choice, a decision, a wait for them to be a little older, a little bigger before they started that journey. But remember, although dreams and memories transform us into time travelers, they cannot change what has been. Alex is playing soccer, he’s four. It is hot outside and he’s playing as hard as he can. All of a sudden, he’s walking off the field. Alex! Go back, your team is still playing. “I’m hot and tired, I’m done”. Laughing all the while and shaking my head. It’s not poor sportsmanship, it is a determined, headstrong little boy that’s done. Ken is in daycare and is about three, oh my goodness, every parent needed a Ken. How many times did daycare call us at work. Ken won’t take a nap, Ken this and Ken that. Ken always thought he had to be the teacher. “Don’t touch the bird”, “aren’t you too big to pull your pants all the way down to use the bathroom”? “Don’t you know how to use a tissue”? “Aren’t you going to wash your hands”? “Why don’t you chew with your mouth closed”? Dad, please get me “Crayola’s, I don’t like rose art”. (Imagine all these words said with no R sound). Can I have those pens”? “I need new paint and art boards”! While Alex at that age only wanted Hot Wheels and computerized game boys, etc. Today Ken is an awesome artist and has done beautiful artwork from paintings to exquisitely decorated cakes. He has modeled for magazines, has done commercials and film, is well versed in music and can still play the saxophone. He is a fantastic husband and is hoping to have his PhD in a couple of more years. Alex is wise beyond his years, he had to be. He was dealt a couple of bad cards during his formative grade school years. Ok, his 2nd and 4th year, since we’re keeping it real and it is a memory. My wife and I home schooled him from the age of 14. It was one of the best decisions we ever made. He can take any computer apart, put it back together and code just about anything it needs. He has a year under his belt in computer programing and gaming and plans to go back to school. Alex still reads music, can play the saxophone and is a lover of music. His soul resonates that soft, unconditional love he gets from his mother. My boys have made me proud beyond words and continue to do so. The fog is rolling in as these words end, for they too are turning into a memory as the last letter of each word is written. I climb back upon my ladder and slide to the memory side of my library. I am saddened to put this one back in it’s box, for it is pleasant and soothing and easily relived. Hold your dreams and memories close, hold your children closer, for each memory has it’s end only to be resurfaced by its calling.
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