Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Watching From the Sidelines

It's not just me who sits on the sidelines...

When my parents came to visit, we all spent a day at the pool.  Growing up, my dad was the big kid joining in the fun with me and my brother, cousins or neighborhood kids in the pool.  I think in part it comes from my dad's youthful, playful spirit.  He would toss us in the air, ending in a splash of giggles and asking him to do it again.  Or he would make big waves in the pool with his long arms.  Or we would shout our requests for him to do cannon balls or jack knives.  In part, I think it comes from him growing up in a family of one in thirteen with a large extended family.  There was always a mix of ages and always children around.  As he grew older, his older siblings started having children, so there had been a pretty steady flow of youth in the family.  And it was fun to play and laugh and enjoy each other.

There was a small group of boys in the pool with their rough and tumble play.  It could have been a scene from my dad's youth with him and his brothers.  Growing up, Dad would have joined in our silly fun for just a moment.  But, these were not his children or nieces or nephews.  Of course, he would not initiate any interaction; it would not be appropriate by any means.  But, I felt like I could see the twinkle in his eye as he smiled and chuckled at the boys on the edge of mischief as he stood along the side of the pool.  There also seemed a kind of hesitation or a faint sadness.  Maybe that is me projecting my feelings of loss. But, these were not even his grandchildren.  If I can't give him one, will he ever get to be in that moment again...to experience the joy of a child that is part of your family, your inner circle and play?  Has the moment passed?  Has it passed for me?  And for him?

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