Last week, in my Father 2 Child class, we had a discussion about a unique memory we held about our fathers. I thought about it for a second and almost went to a negative thought. But part of forgiveness is to let go of negativity and focus on positive reality. I chose to practice forgiveness.
Remember that little Duke Blue Devils football you had bought for me and my brother? That little plastic toy couldn’t have been more than $2 or $3. It didn’t throw right. The blue stripes were fading away. It was more of a souvenir to keep us quiet so we could stop asking for stuff at the football game. But the few moments we shared with that little toy for me was a unique memory I will always hold.
I remember those few moments as the last time we ever got a chance to play again. I don’t remember if you asked me or I asked you to come outside. I don’t remember the weather or what it looked like outside. I don’t remember how long we were out there. I don’t even remember the exact time frame, I was probably 5 or 6. But I do remember my elation every time I watched that plastic football wobble in the air. I remember it feeling like a dream and the ball was moving in slow motion between our grasps. I was that young, but I had the feeling that I wish this moment would last forever. I wished that you would play with me more often. I just simply wanted you to be there…. for just those few moments.
I felt like my competence was protected. I felt like I had to catch that ball every time no matter what because my dad was throwing it to me. I felt like I was going to make you proud one day and you’ll be watching me catch balls in college or the NFL. Watching that little plastic ball leave your hand was like you imparting something in me, to me, for me to receive. And whether I got it or not you didn’t yell at me or tell me I’m wrong or I will never learn…. In just those few moments.
I look at my son and I wonder sometimes what you would have imparted in him if you would’ve met him. Though it seems like you have because he acts so much like you at certain times. I wonder if you would’ve been proud to have a grandson, maybe see it as a fresh start in teaching your lineage or influencing your legacy directly. I wonder if my daughter would’ve softened you up and made you open your heart just that little bit. Even if it was for only her. She tends to have that affect on people….
I’m not angry or upset that that was the last time I remember us playing together, though I used to be. Now I hold on to it to cherish it. I use it to urge my playfulness with my children because I don’t want them to have to look back to when they were 5 to remember when daddy played with them. It only takes a few moments to make a lasting memory in our children’s lives. Erasing a negative one is so much more difficult than imparting a great one.
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