Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memories from the future

If only for 3B's preschool graduation, this Memorial Day weekend was a memorable one. His school requires parents to volunteer twice a year, and Mama and I had signed up for the Purim Festival and graduation, so I took the day off work and was there for the whole ceremony.

Yes, ceremony. Yes, we're still talking about preschool. OK, there wasn't much to it, but it was more formal than the class party with cupcakes that I was expecting.

Mostly there was singing, including "You Are My Sunshine," which 3B hates, according to Mama, which explains his almost total silence during that part of the concert. There were also cupcakes, piled high into replicas of Mt. Sinai in honor of Shavuot, which comes this week, but is close enough. Also close enough were the figures of Diego that were used for Moses...hey, Diego travels on adventures and Moses did too.

Mt Sinai

The entire day was close enough to the heart that I found myself getting choked up at times, like watching how painfully shy 3B is in situations like this, despite his love for an audience; watching how he tried to find the hand of his friend next to him to hold as they stepped up onto the stage to sing; and watching him show off his classroom to me, so proud of everything he does there and knows about it.

It reminds me of how I would feel when Dad would visit my classroom when I was a boy. He had Columbus Day off and our schools didn't, so he took the day going to visit each of his kids in school--each of the six of us, so he wasn't in any one classroom long. But I still remember how happy it made me to have him there. Back then, I pictured my future, picking out odd pieces of it that have come to pass: I would wear a suit to work every day, I would be married, and I would have kids. In each of those pictures, I couldn't see Dad, but I knew he was there, although that never came to pass.

I could see how delighted 3B was to finally be able to show me all the games he had been describing to me all year, the friends he had been playing with all year and all of the pictures and projects from the year, just as I would do.

As I was watching this, I was also holding close to my heart the knowledge that Dad's 83rd birthday would have been this weekend. It's been so long now, I have no idea what I would have sent him, but I do know that I would have called and we would have talked about the Indy 500--what happened, who crashed, who won--and I would have once again relaxed into the warm tones of his voice as my own voice went up with excitement as I showed off for my daddy what I knew.

Instead, I recorded it on the DVR while we were out at the pool with the kids, and I have yet to watch it...but I will. It will be at night, after the kids are in bed. I'll make a bowl of popcorn and lay down on the couch. I'll keep the volume down to keep from disturbing anyone, and I'll watch--not to find out what happened, who crashed or who won, but to once again be with Dad.
"But it's sure nice talking to you, Dad
It's been sure nice talking to you"

Papa Bradstein will carry his Dad and his kids in his heart--they're way too heavy to carry any other way--as he rides 200 miles across Massachusetts in two days to help fight cancer. Please support his ride.

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