A Play with a Thousand Acts

I do not remember the last time I went with one of my seven sons to play basketball. I do not even remember which son it was, but I ought to. I often walked with my little girls to the tiny store on the corner to purchase 25-cent surprise bags filled with unknown varieties of candy that we could enjoy together. But one day a child and I came home from such an adventure, and went our separate ways, and it never happened again.

I do not remember the last time I held hands with one of my children to walk to church or cross an intersection. I think I remember the press of tiny fingers and soft hands, but I do not remember the last time I let go without knowing that our hands would never join again-that this separation of our fingers was the final curtain in a play with a thousand acts.

I loved to read to the children. I tried to present the stories with appropriate voices and entertaining animations while we laughed together. But when did it end?

Frisbees and Bedtime Songs

When did we stop playing Old Maid and Go Fish? When did the kisses cease? When did we stop building with the blocks that are still in boxes upstairs? When did we stop trying to set a world’s record for Frisbee throwing without a miss?

When did Lydia and I sing our last bedtime song? We used to ask the children how many songs they wanted when it was bedtime, and if their demands were not outrageous, we tried to accommodate their requests. I am pained now by the realization that one day I finished the last chorus of “The Unicorn Song,” or “The Preacher and the Bear,” or something else, and turned away from a child in his or her bedroom, unaware that it would never happen again.

The Ending of Things

Today I am absorbed with the ending of things-things that delight, diminish, and then disappear.

Those moments had to end. Holding hands and sticky kisses and bedtime songs always end. Children become something else, and love finds new ways to manifest itself.   But to have moments of such sweetnesscome to an end without knowing is surely wrong. There should be a record in my journal: “Today I playedchess with Chris for the last time.” Or, “This evening Lydia and I kissed Debbie on the forehead and bid her good night. We will never do it again.”

I Believe in Heaven

The knowing would nourish the remembering, and the wonder of being the parents of little children would linger so much longer if we knew when things were ending.

But . . . there are grandchildren now: tiny humans who love to hold hands and kiss and hug and play like their parents did. And in years to come there will be great-grandchildren. Maybe, because we are eternal beings having an eternal experience, the best things never end.

I do, after all, believe in Heaven.