Tree! Moon! Stars!
These are the one sentence stories my two year old son tells me on those nights when he and I go out to sit on the front porch steps. He points up to the darkening sky and shouts out names of the trees, the moon and the stars as if he has caused them to appear just for us. The worries of the world fall aside, and I laugh with him as he giggles in delight at what he can do. We sit on the stone steps as the long days and short years of childhood go by, and watch the moon rise over the trees and listen to the crickets and owls and distant trains. I think how some day when he is my age he’ll drive by and show his son the old house where he used to sit with his old man. And then he breaks my thoughts with some joyful noise of some delight he notices in his joyful world. Every man may indeed be a hero to his dog, but every father should have this glorious period where you are strong, brave, and wise to your son.
The boy across the street from where we sit, our neighbor, is almost fourteen. He was two when his father got sick and died. He is a good boy, well loved and active in life. His father would be proud. Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote that childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies, nobody important. His kingdom may have been like Camelot. Real memories of his father, or just dreams. My neighbor’s boy still had a good childhood, his mother is a wonderful lady and the extended family extended itself. Even though a shadow passed over the garden of his childhood, it did pass. So I don’t worry for him but I do think about what his father missed and what I hope to see with my own sons. I recognize that some cliches, like stopping to smell the roses, are not little pearls of wisdom on a greeting card, but the essence of life. So I remind myself not to dwell on the small things in life and to enjoy the great things that life brings.
Like sitting on the front porch steps. And listening to my son shout Tree! Moon! Stars!
*apologies for the non-political post, but sometimes it is nice to take a break.