He stood so long during mass on Palm Sunday he was exhausted...
Not really...Mr. A usually enjoys a Sunday siesta and now that spring has sprung and the worst of the pollen has stopped in southern Georgia, we lounge the afternoon away in our vitamin D receptacles in the field in front of our home. Soon enough it will be so hot we'll retreat to the shade of ornamental pear trees.
The neck pillow was his mother's, one way he holds her memory close.
The binoculars were used to spot a bald eagle.
The book is mine.
Enough evidence could not be collected to accuse Mr. A of being a book worm. He'd rather chop firewood, rebuild a carburetor, haul away scrap metal...well, you get the picture. His belly was simply a book rest for a moment while I placed throws on my lounger. Beautiful and sunny as it was, there was a chill in the air, seems there is always one last reminder of winter shortly before Easter.
We spoke of airplanes, or rather he spoke of airplanes and I listened. Military, trainers, experimental, passenger, you name it, he identifies it and never tires of the topic. My take on a passenger airliner is sardines in a dirty Coke can, but you can't beat it for efficiency. I loathe car travel, so it's a blessing to go see our children in Colorado in about the same amount of time it'd take us to drive to Atlanta. (It dawned on me I number among those on earth who knew people from the pre-air travel era.)
We spoke of parenthood; he said, "There are times you act lovingly when you're not necessarily feeling it." It was a stripes-earned comment, surprised though, to hear it from him. He almost always acted lovingly. I told him he'd given me a tremendous gift with the way he conducted himself as a father. I could never fault him for the examples he lived; he was a good role model for our sons. Well, I did on occasion lob a complaint that I was more the disciplinarian than he, but all is well that ends well. He was appreciative of my compliment and I'm appreciative I can lavish words of praise on him with no worry of him becoming puffed up.
From the visually euphoric vantage point of spring green...
(you can see the moon if you look closely at the center) ...we called our baby boy and his fiancee. We discussed their upcoming wedding and a wedding guest book I created online for their approval. Being able to talk on a telephone without a cord was unheard of in my childhood, but now we did just that, on speaker, so four people and the dog separated by over 1,600 miles could converse as if in the same room. Not being confined to a room rocks!
When the cool afternoon got even cooler, we went inside and another conversation on another device unheard of in my childhood commenced. My older son and I were exchanging instant messages between his iPhone and my iPad. I sent him a picture of a collaborative effort with his father, homemade Chicago deep dish pizza:
...and he replied he was booking a redeye. We agreed to a call later and the call was via another communication miracle, Facetime. It was dreamed of when I was a child--portrayed in a 1960s Hanna-Barbera cartoon called The Jetsons:
And with someone's dream come true, our firstborn took us on a tour of a house he and his wife recently rented, upgrading in size from a pretty little townhouse they've occupied since their move out west last summer. A gas stove and an outlet on the island, a cook's clever design! After ten months of dues paying in a smallish galley kitchen, he and his wife will have plenty of counter space for collaborative culinary creations of their own plus room to dance.
Part of me wished I lived close enough to help them move and another part of me could rest easy--as the young people say now, "I got this." They do indeed have their lives under control and their father and I can enjoy the blessing and security of knowing our children are wholly, completely self-sufficient.
Plus a potential hernia might be avoided.
After all this glorious sunshine and pleasant conversation with our children, we marveled over that mysterious place where time goes. We see each other looking not exactly like we did on our wedding day, but still, could we have grown children in such a lightning speed passage of time?
The book of Ecclesiastes has an entire chapter devoted to the topic of time and it speaks of a gift from God, every man being able to eat and drink and enjoy the toil of his labor. My labor led to the hard work of childrearing and we were fortunate enough these duties were done with reasonable success. This blessed Sunday afternoon, we reaped the reward of sharing joy in our grown children's milestones, territory they are navigating beautifully on their own.