I suppose it’s true that the memories I will carry with me until my final days will be a haphazard array of moments. Frozen in my mind’s eye, and flavored by the intervening events of a life lived in many ways, trying to come to terms with questions that a little boy never knew the answers to… and to which there may only be simple, unsatisfying  truths.

                The past few days, as I carried on with my duties as a Godfather and spent time in the company of one who means so much to me, my thoughts drifted back to the days of my youth. To happy times,  when I felt the kind of love that I was bestowing on my Godson in the way I have felt he is entitled. After all, to me, my Godchildren are the children I will never have… It has been implied that I take this responsibility too seriously, by members of my own ‘clan’ as tho my understanding is flawed; my oath, unenforceable.

                   To me, that is the strangest of observations-  that a man should agree to something so serious, and then pretend that it never happened. This will remain, I suppose, one of those things about me that some people will never understand. Some people. Not all…

                    Yesterday, I felt surrounded by the love that I yearned for my entire childhood, only I was on the other side of things, not the beneficiary, in a sense, but the provider. The role a man should expect, at least in my mind. But it soon became apparent to me that even tho I was helping my Godson to physically move his belongings from one place to another, being in his company, watching him smile,  and seeing the excitement on his face, was a greater joy to me than one can really describe. I was a part of something that made me whole. Something that affirms everything that I am. That affirms the things that some people will never understand.  I hope he doesn’t mind if I publish this picture… It’s hard to explain the feeling of love that he has given to me. Perhaps I can best say  it  in terms that fathers might understand- I would give anything to have a son like him…

                   So, as I helped him move his assortment of belongings, my mind drifted back to the days of my youth, and the times I  felt whole as a child. When my dad spent the day just being with me. The kind of day every boy dreams about…

                    I remember one such day when I was but 6 years old. It was a cool and cloudy saturday  around the time of my birthday. I remember the approximate day because that’s what we were talking about. My coming birthday, and what I wanted…  lol  Big surprise! I wanted my own horse, of course! 😛 I was, and always will be, a closeted cowboy, I guess!

                    I remember Pop trying to talk me out of that… To dissuade me from those types of expectations. The inevitable disappointments of life that most 6 year olds are just learning about.

                   So we drove down Route 2, heading for the beach, on our day together, excited by the prospect of seeing the hammerhead sharks that had closed the Connecticut beaches that week. It was a big deal at the time, and I remember asking many, many questions (lol) about EVERYTHING from what sharks ate, to why they had come so close to shore… ‘Were they looking for something in particular? You know, Pop, like little boys they might feast on?’

                   It was a spirited conversation and Pop laughed a lot and then was circumspect and serious for a while, and then, just as I was getting a little nervous about my own safety, he turned to look at me…. the little blond- haired boy on the bench seat next to him in that huge station wagon…. and he pulled me close to his side (there were little seatbelts in the middle of that bench), and he said, “No shark is going to steal my son from me. Don’t you know that?”

                    I felt his strong arm around my skinny little shoulders and I leaned back as the wind swirled through the open windows, and I felt… safe. As it should be.

                     Since that day, I have yearned for that same type of moment. Like every little boy.

                     I have to go now to make the final preparations for the big party. I truly hope that all of the ‘little boys’ out there, as well as the older ones like my wonderful Godson, experience that moment many times before they become men… And to the boys who have lost their fathers, I want you to know that you are in my heart, every day. I consider all of you, my Godsons. 🙂 You are loved and in my thoughts always !

                      OK, gotta run! Happy Father’s Day, y’all!!