I rode my bike to Daniel’s soccer game last Saturday. His dad is a friend of mine as well as the team’s coach. Daniel is 8. He can be both childlike and magically insightful/wise as only an 8 year old can be. I always enjoy his company.
During the game I was sitting among loudly verbal parents, grandparents, and friends. Suddenly transported back to a moment when one of my own sons at the age of 8 walked over to me during one of his Judo classes…
I could still hear my son say – in an extraordinarily mature and respectful voice – that it might be better if I practiced sitting behind a post until I could contain my sideline volume. One of the many times my sons gave me a blinding glimpse of the obvious. It was his sport and class, not mine.
About half way through Daniel’s soccer game one of his 8 year old teammates took a ball in the chest that knocked the wind out of him. It scared him and he started crying softly. The coach immediately replaced him so he could go meet his father at the sidelines for a moment.
I watched the father – with deep familiarity – comfort the boy without saying a word. They were leaning up against each other, both still attending to the ongoing soccer game. The son’s arm was around the father’s waist. The father’s around the son’s shoulder. Magical. Intimate. Comforting. Soon enough the boy was back in the game.
I haven’t had kids at home for years. The intimacy of that familiar, wordless leaning is sorely missed here. Those are the small moments I forget I am missing until I am suddenly in them again.
My grandchildren and I still have these experiences together. They can be as wise as their fathers were at the same ages. My granddaughters lean against me without asking or speaking and then return to the action of the moment. I am honored.
These fleeting moments are always the apex experience – the unexpected moments from which memories are made – of their visits to my wife, Brown Eyes, and me. It’s not that I want kids in the house full time again. I don’t.
I’m reminded, however, how sweet certain “kid moments” can be, gifts of the moment to be carried and treasured for years. I have my grandchildren and Daniel to thank for that.