Hank and I returned home on Monday from our respective schools. Monday and Wednesday are our long days. I teach my folklore class on the other side of Santiago and, thus, Hank spends the entire day at Montessori. It works out fine though we're both pretty tired by the time we return home. Well, at least I am.
On this particular Monday I wandered upstairs, as I always do, to change clothes, catch my breath, and start the unwinding process. Hank, as he always does, wanted to play and called out to me to follow him somewhere or other and do something or other with him. "Ok, Hank," I responded while walking upstairs. "Just let me change clothes and I'll be right down."
"Ok. I will," he called back.
I sat on the edge of the bed, took my boots off, and walked to the bathroom to splash some water on my face. While there I heard Hank's little feet scamper up the stairs and then a short series of grunts and knocks that told me he, as usual, was up to something. "What's going on, Hank," I asked him from the bathroom. I was suspicious and weary.
"Nufing," he said. "I just need to take my shoes off and put them in the room like you." Normally Hank's shoes are thrown in a massive pile downstairs in an area between the kitchen and the laundry room. That day, however, he saw it fit to do otherwise. I saw his shoes when I returned to my room to change shirts. I sat back down on the bed. I smiled. The difficulties of the day vanished and I walked downstairs to play with Hank.
There have been at least two other times when an event like that has made me as happy as it did. The very first time happened just about a year after Hank was born. We took our first long nap together. It was also the third sunday of June, Father's Day. The second time is a recurring phenomenon but it never ceases to amaze me. Almost every time I pick him up from school, no matter what he is busy doing, he sees me, yells out "Dad!," and runs to give me a big, smiling hug.
It's all pretty nice and though it makes me realize that I still have some big boots to fill I feel like the combination of these all-too-brief moments are the only reason this world continues to spin its course. Somehow, someway, the energy produced in these seemingly simple and, yet, simply innate actions spark enough momentum in this planet that it has no other choice to keep moving forward forever. And it's good.
Some shoe songs!
Gram Parsons: The New Soft Shoe.mp3
Hem: (The Angels Wanna Wear) My Red Shoes.mp3 (An Elivs Costello cover)