Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Wonder Never Fades

It's one of the organic touchstones of our house. A hot corner. A slingshot through the kitchen to the living room and backyard and then back again. And no matter what we've done to it over the years -- wiped it down, spackled it, painted it over -- we just can't keep it clean.

It's not like a door frame or other enshrined place on a wall where you measure your kids' growth over the years. We had started that upstairs in their early years, but never followed through to now.

No, this magical touchstone much messier than that, like living life most certainly always is. Little hands that have touched, tugged, smeared and clawed one textured corner in the kitchen where on one side the grocery lists are made and the phone rings and the cabinets are full of kitchen things, and on the other side the same refrigerator we've had for 12 years hums and whirs and fills the rare silent spaces of our busy lives.

Little hands that grow bigger each day and never miss a chance of physical contact with this one kitchen corner. One day recently I watched and counted a dozen times in less than 15 minutes as our girls went from the living room to the backyard and back again.

But there are some specific childhood artifacts that hang down the wall between the corner and the refrigerator delineating points in time -- oven mitts made when Beatrice and Bryce were both in preschool. The mitts have their hand prints, their names and the years they were made.

And now there are so many memories that hang throughout our house, a family museum curated with love and mindful attention year after year. The past school years and other family photographs and memories now boxed in the garage, under-the-bed or in digital archives to be opened again in who knows when. Maybe when the girls are grown and gone and on their own. Maybe sooner. Maybe next week.

It's those handprints on the mitts that touched my heart the other day, though. Touched it, tugged on it, smeared and clawed it, reminding me to hold my family fast every day and to be forever thankful that I get be these amazing girls' father. And of all the ways to be present as Dad, the wonder never fades.

They blur and fray
Yellow and gray
Are carried away
By the gust of days
A childhood haze
And memory maze --
Of all the ways
To be present as Dad
The wonder never fades...

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