Everything started moving really quickly. May felt like two days, not a month. Your birthday, on the 29th and I thought, “Didn’t we just get done with Christmas and your first car and making the AllStar team with your buddies, all lined up, gangly legs swinging along the side of the pool?”
Seriously, wasn’t it just a little while ago that bedtime meant Spot stories and afternoons were Tellie Tubbies and Clifford the Big Red Dog? I feel like it was just yesterday, on a Sunday just like today…warm outside, summer time waiting for us to get home from church…that you caught me off guard, stepping from our pew and down the aisle to open your heart and life to Jesus. And I cried, not big showy tears, sweet soul-filled tears.
And it seems not so very long ago that you’d fall asleep in my bed. Not long ago that I’d pick you up from daycare to find you usually on the playground. I’d walk towards the window after gathering your things and I’d watch for just a bit. Mamas do that. Sometimes you’d be sitting in the sand and I’d smile because I knew your sharp little blue Keds and socks would need to be emptied first thing.
Sometimes, it seems I’d find you in thinking mode. You’ve always been my thinking child. And I could see you watching the other little boys and girls, content to sit and gaze. I can see so clearly your little elbows on your knees, your chin cupped in your little hands. Or sometimes running around, laughing as you toddled on cute, chubby little tan legs, blonde hair glistening from the sun.
But most of all, I saw you waiting, your face intently focused and your little mind’s clock anticipating my arrival, waiting to hear my voice, your name…”Austin I’m here.”
And this is why I can’t take my eyes off this one shot.
My daughter, making allowances for my lack of discretion, captured this gem. I told her…”Catch him looking, he’s scaninng the room. Hurry, get that shot!”
My son, looking to see if I had arrived. Waiting to see me there. On the day of his graduation, knowing I was there, but looking for me in the crowd. Until finally a barely noticeable, understated nod and just a hint of a reassured smile.
Because he had been waiting to know, I was there.
Be assured, “Austin, I’m here.”