Saturday, June 27, 2009

Father's Day

From Father's Day 2009

On Father's Day, we went to Grandpa and Grandma's house. Grandpa's mental faculties wax and wane, and we try to get up there to visit as often as we can. Grandpa is a Great man, a force all unto himself. It is terribly sad to see him struggling with physical and mental weakness. It's not a situation he is accustomed to, and he does not handle it well. Billy and I want our boys to know Grandpa, to catch a glimpse of the vital person inside the aged man. I hope they remember.

The days have been brutally hot. We sat on the dock in the early evening to catch the light breeze playing off the water. One of the canoes was missing, so Billy and the boys had gone out on the lake to look for it. Babyman relaxed on the dock with Grandma, Grandpa and me.
From Father's Day 2009

Littleman was determined that day to handle the kayak all by himself. He'd had a little practice while sitting in Billy's lap, but had never tried it on his own. (It's a recreational kayak, designed for flat water paddling- very stable for a kayak.) I was anxious to hear how his first foray had gone. Finally, I saw him heading our way.
From Father's Day 2009

He was doing well!

Surprisingly well! Though the paddle was of course ridiculously oversized for him, he handled it beautifully and guided the kayak right where he wanted it to go. I was very impressed- it takes skill to paddle a kayak. Our kayak is easier than many, but it is still quite a feat for a 5 year old!

Billy, Mr. Sweetcheeks and Gimli were not far behind, towing the found canoe. Billy shouted encouragement to Littleman while Gimli made a fine figurehead.
From Father's Day 2009

It was such a fine day for a canoe ride. Sweetcheeks thoroughly enjoyed it, and especially appreciated having Daddy "all to himself" in the canoe. He even helped rescue the lost canoe from the swamp!
From Father's Day 2009

I turned my attention back to Littleman, who was now negotiating the tricky business of docking. As he came closer I was struck with one of those visions, when I see my children existing simultaneously as babies and grown-up boys. This is my firstborn baby, my tiny treasure! My little cloth-diapered nurseling. Look at his sweet chubby cheeks! Look how tiny he is! What is he doing by himself in a kayak?!?? Have I lost my mind?
From Father's Day 2009

But, wait- look again. Look at this skilled, determined little grown-up boy. Strong, lean, capable. See him forging his way in this world. See him finding his own way.
From Father's Day 2009

How can they both be here, now, in this one little person? Like Grandpa, the strong vital spirit hiding under the old man, Littleman has his own strong, vital spirit emerging from a sweet chubby little baby. Walking his own path, growing eventually into his own Great man.

However my boys choose to forge their way, they have strong inspiration to help guide them. Thank goodness for great Daddies.
From Father's Day 2009


S said...

Beautiful post!

Five Bears A-Blogging said...

Beautiful! Love your writing and photographs!

Robin Easton said...

Dear Kit, This is SUCH a powerfully beautiful post that I am in tears. The depth of your heart-insight just leaves me almost speechless. I don't even know where to start. You are a truly remarkable woman.

I am touched by your insights into "grandpa" and the compassion and desire to have your boys know him. I am touched by the depth of insight into Littleman. I have these feelings about kids that I know. I see both the baby I once knew and the budding young adult in the same instant. Also, he is AMAZING with kayak!! I can hardly believe it. Only five years old. WOW!!!! And I am so so proud of you and Billy for letting him do this on his own. It will teach him potent self-esteem.

I think this is THE most powerful post you have EVER shared. And you have had some truly GREAT posts. But this one is so vast in its depth of insight on every possible level.

As I said you are a REMARKABLE woman Kit. I am very proud of you. All my best to you and Billy.
Bless you dear soul.
Hugs, Robin

Bird said...

This is just so gorgeous I nearly cried. I mean, the picture of your little boy guiding the canoe in safely - you can almost imagine the baby he was and the man he will become without even actually knowing him as you do. So poigniant.

Amazing, three generations of men all together like that! I hope Grandpa also had a good Father's day. It's so cruel when time catches up like that, so unfair, but I hope the boys got to see him as he really is.

Kit said...

@ S and Five Bears- Thank you, ladies. :) I really appreciate the compliments.

@ Robin- I think I often reply to your comments starting with "wow", but again: Wow! I love that my posts touch you, and that you tell me about it. Thank you SO much.

@ Bird- Thank you. Thank you for reading, for the sweet comment, and for the thumbs-up. I'm so glad I was able to convey that feeling, that vision of Littleman which struck me. I just love that you can "see" it too. And yes, I hope the boys understand Grandpa. . . only time will tell I guess.

John Lawrence MMT, MTA said...

It is great to see a mother that appreciates the uniqueness and abilities that men, and fathers can bring to the life of a children. I hear your concern about "your nappy-swadled" memory guiding the kayak by himself but I also recognize the pride and sense of accomplishment that such an experience/challenge can bring. Thank-you for allowing your children to experience life without oversmothering them with normal and necessary concerns about their safety.

Kit said...

@ John: Of course- I think I've always been aware of the irreplaceable value of fathers, but I especially see it now that I am raising 3 boys. Plus Billy and I are both big believers in letting kids try tough challenges- failing is valuable, and it makes accomplishments all the sweeter. Far be it from me to prevent such valuable lessons!

Thank you so much for stopping by!!