December 28, 2003 - Sunday
I had one of those moments today; one of those glorious father-son moments that any expectant parent might think happen all the time but really don't amidst the constancy of life; one of those moments that somehow prove that all that constancy is worth it. And, I suppose this moment doesn't really sound like much on the surface, but it is the kind of visual memory that makes a father smile as long as the memory lasts.
There isn't much snow left on the ground from the early season snow storms we've had, but what is left is hard and icy. When Harry got his new birthday sled out this morning, that leftover snow made the very gradual slope in the lawn off to the side of the house just inclined enough to carry him a good 25-30 feet at a slow, comfortable speed. I was busy moving firewood, but seeing Harry made me think of the bigger hills in town that he and I might go to after I finished. Well, of course, if you wait too long a child's attention will be on to the next thing and, sure enough, Harry wasn't interested in sledding anymore when I might have been.
But then, after lunch and his quiet time, Harry wanted to go out again and this time I was with him. He got his sled again and I got the larger one I use for pulling two boys and moving wood. There wasn't really time to go anywhere, and grandparents were at our house for the afternoon, so I led Harry to the far front of the lawn where there's a slightly bigger slope. Fortunately, that snow was hard and icy, too. I pushed Harry a time or two by himself and he had a couple of nice rides and seemed very excited. Then, on something like his third I put my sled down next to his. I didn't get in my sled right away, because I needed to push Harry again, so when I jumped into my sled headfirst and appear next to him going down the hill together, Harry was visibly excited. I had held onto the side of Harry's sled and pulled our two sleds together and that put our faces pretty close together. I glanced over to look at Harry, expecting to see a happy smile, but what I saw was much more than that. Harry's face was dominated by a big, wide open mouth, a giddy laugh, and eyes filled with obvious surprise and delight. He leaned is face closer, still laughing, until our noses almost touched. It was contagious.
I thought we'd sled for a few minutes. Gramma, who had been out watching, suggested Harry would never get tired of this. I thought to myself, "heck, neither will I," and we sledded together until it started to get dark, side by side on each run, Harry sometimes, climbing onto my sled halfway down. As it started to get dark, I began to suggest to Harry that we'd need to go inside soon. But, it was he, not I, who decided when it was ultimately time to go inside.