Being all of two at the time, I honestly do not remember this moment. And to be honest, being all of almost fifty-seven now, I am starting to find that I don’t remember many moments.
Too bad this one escaped me.
‘Cause it sure seems like it was some quality father and son time.
Being able to find this gem is a blessing. It makes me truly thankful for the foresight and effort it took my mom and dad to record, save and pass along all these snap shots of our life together.
When I happened upon this picture from my childhood, it became lodged in the back in my mind for some reason.
Though its significance eluded me – the image remained.
When you pass the half-century mark, keys may be misplaced, trips are made into rooms for no apparent reason and wardrobe selections can often be mismatched.
But one thing is certain.
You do become more aware of all those “dots”.
You know; the “out of the blue but stick with you” coincidences and circumstances that populate life.
Especially when the rubric starts to come into view.
So while I do not recall being perched on the edge of that counter, eyes closed, I do remember something my dad told me, later in life, on more than one occasion.
What he said has everything to do with me standing there.
My eyes closed.
With little regard for the swift and sudden retribution that gravity would most certainly bestow on my tookus or noggin should balance fail me.
Today, for some reason, and at this particular moment in time, I needed to come across this.
To see this picture.
Feel his presence.
And “hear” Dad’s words once again:
“I will have the catcher’s mitt ready.”
When I first heard him tell me that, I think the potential fall wasn’t off of a kitchen counter.
It might have been a money thing.
Maybe it was born of some difficulty I was facing, more than likely, the result of my own doing.
Or possibly it was the residue of some crappy decision I made upon hearing the siren song of another uncharted territory, again.
Perhaps this picture from 1961 simply captures the essence of my first lesson of a parent’s devotion.
That Dad loved me enough to let me fall.
That he trusted me to test the waters on my own.
That he knew the value of mistakes and failure in the formation of character.
And that no matter what, he was gonna be there.
His mitt on.
Ready to make that catch when needed.
My only regret ?
That it took longer for me to understand this lesson.
All of the subsequent ones.
And how that lessened the time we had to spend together.
Yet despite my stubbornness, he understood. He knew I would come around, even if he wasn’t here to see it.
Dad never lost faith in me.
Funny how life works out sometimes, isn’t it?
So while moments like this arrive with a seeming randomness all their own, they always have their purpose.
Just one more dot of many.
To remind one that life always comes back, full circle.
And that we will always be connected.
So to all of my kids, at home, at play, at work, near, far and all points in between, I promise.
No matter what.
I love you the exact same way.
Always and without condition.
And just like Dad.
My mitt will be ready too.