One of my favorite photos is situated in the middle of a large wall collage of photos that hangs on the wall. It's not a family portrait, nor some posed shot at a milestone family gathering. It is a photo of my three sons, at the ages of two, five and eight. Three beautiful squeaky clean smiles peering out of a shower stall door that is just opening.
What makes this photo so dear, is the timing of the photo. Just staring at it I am swept back to those days and that hour of the day...."O.K. boys, dry yourselves off and hop into your pajamas...I'll meet you in bed for your bedtime story!" Through the door, I could hear their excitement...."oh boy, I hope he tells us a good one"....
They were still small enough to fit on one bed and curl up around me. A chorus of requests would eminate, "tell us the Toys R Us story," "tells us the story when we got Locked in McDonalds" "tell us the story when we were shrunk and put into a video game"......No, you won't find these stories in your Storytime books....Every once in awhile, I would hand sew a night time tale to custom fit their imaginations. "The aiplane story"!....yes, that was one of their most requested......My, how they loved watching airplanes taking off and landing at the airport! In this particular story, I had taken them to the airport for an afternoon of watching. While there, they wandered onto a jetliner that was idle. They sat in cockpit musing at the hundreds of dials and switches. The older boys dared the younger one to flip a switch. The youngest flipped the switch and the door to the jet closed. "Whoa, better flip it back" they beckoned. When the youngest did, the engines of the jet began to turn..........and each subsequent flipping, the wheels were set in motion for taking off........till, they finally did!
The story continued, how I grabbed a pilot and we jumped on another plane and took off after them! We lined up the planes , wing to wing, and I described how I would open the door to walk across to get into their plane. My five year old would always ask..."dad, would you really walk on the wing on of a jet at 25,000 feet high to save us?" "yes" I would smile.."that's how much daddy loves you".....(sneaking in my ultimate message!)... I boarded their plane and took them in for a safe landing. "Did you punish us?" The oldest would ask...."No T.V. or nintendo for a year!" I firmly stated. The little one would pout, but it wasan accident, we didn't mean to fly the plane"...."I know" ....."and while no one got hurt, ...you did wander off away from Daddy....so, that's in part what the punishment is for"....
The scent of their freshly washed hair, their skin so soft, their heartbeats so tender, we would lay a few minutes more before each one was escorted off to his own bed. They would close their eyes knowing they were protected, and loved beyond measure.
I don't think I have known anything so eloquent as those moments.
I look at that photo, and do not say "what a shame those moments could not last" but rather, I muse, "what a shame it would have been, had I not had one of those moments"
and the wheel spins round......
Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star
Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like, when youre older, must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and dawn
Were captive on the carousel of time
We cant return we con only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round, in the circle game. Joni Mitchell