“We get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.” –Paul Bowles
This thought often is my wake up call in life. It occurs to me when I am in the midst of a moment that is true. Today my son, on the brink of becoming a much older version of himself, walked with me around the park and lamented about all the time that my work takes up, away from him. I reminded him of the days he is gone with his friends, and the hours that I spend accompanying him to his athletic events, but still he was sad and hardened by a feeling of missing something.
As we rounded the third leg of the park, I said, “Here’s the thing, you can hang onto all the places where I am not enough for you, or you can look at how much I love you. You can know in your heart how much I want to be with you, that I would drop everything to take a walk around the park with you…” The conversation softened and we sat in the shade of a tree with the dogs watching the late summer afternoon go by.
His heart opened and we connected which is what we both wanted all along. The smell of summer heat on a big open field filled the air and I was so happy to be brushing his now already blonde hair from his eyes. I have sat at this park with him since he was a tiny boy and I don’t know how many more times I will find him deeply there. But it was the place where my day started to make sense and find a time and rhythm that felt true.
I guess if I were paying attention I would be able to witness these tender moments everywhere, because if you look with your heart and not your eyes, they are everywhere, they are all the time. I hope I remember this afternoon for a long time, I hope it is embedded in me so that every time I walk by that tree where we sat, I will see a fleeting image of my boy forever laying in the afternoon shade, sharing his heart, just before he grew into a man.