The father clutched his son’s tiny hand warmly.
"Do you know what I wanna be when I grow up Daddy?" The child asked him brightly.
He was his first born, just 5, but he could already find his own traces in his son. It was a sunny Sunday morning, too early for many people to be out here. But Josh has insisted. All through the week, the boy would wait anxiously for his father to come home from work. Working late, there wasn’t much time left for him to play or get involved with his son like he should. Josh was sweet boy with a heart of gold, of course like many of his age, untouched by any kind of malice. It was the age of dreams and seeing only happy endings; the age of dreaming about what one wants to be when one grows up and believing almost as a religion that it would turn out exactly that.
“I wanna be a pilot!” The child said loudly, laughing with pure happiness. “I wanna fly and see where the birdies go off too!” His eyes shone with joy.
“And what will you do once you find out?”
“I will try to find Tootsie and then I’ll bring him home.” The child smiled, cute little dimples forming at the end of his lips as he did.
“Good! I bet we will have a great time with Tootsie”, the child seemed very sure of what Daddy said and nodded eagerly.
Tootsie was Josh’s most treasured pet parrot. Tootsie and Mr. Cuddles, the teddy bear, were the best; Grace and I couldn’t agree more. Mr. Cuddles went to bed with Josh, but the parrot stayed out of the bedroom. One day when he woke up, he realized he had left the cage near an open window, giving, Brutus, the bad neighborhood kitty, the chance to have him as his dinner. Naturally it was hard to make Josh believe that Tootsie had gone to visit friends, and maybe he’s staying because he likes it there with his old pals.
“Daddy”, Josh looked at him with imploring eyes.
“Yes baby?” he said as he pulled his son up in his arms.
“When I’m big and strong like you, will you take me to your office with you?”
“Of course I will chum!”
“And… and”, the boy was trying to think of different possibilities. “And when I’m big and strong just like you, will you still play with me?”
“Of course! You’ll be a big man like daddy is, and daddy will be proud.” He smiled warmly at Josh. Josh hugged his father.
“Daddy”, The boy hugged his father tighter. “You’re the only one who can open the cookie jar when mom can’t. I told Pete at school Daddy’s jus’ like Superman. He said his dad is stronger than my dad but then I told him you can even go into the basement without any light on and the monster in the basement can’t even scare you off!” The child laughed with satisfaction.
“Did you?” Daddy smiled at Josh.
“Yes”, the boy was in such high spirits. “And I also told him that, that day you cut yourself shavin’ and you didn’t get even kissed for it and… and it didn’t hurt you ‘cause you’re brave and… and you weren’t sad for getting’ cut.” The boy swelled with pride. “Daddy…” the boy grew serious.
“How come you take so many pictures of us, but you’re never in them?”
“Well…” he thought for a moment. “That’s ‘cause…”
“Daddy I want a photo of you so I can show Pete how big and strong you are!” he said without letting him finish. The boy hugged his father again and smiled. He held Josh closer to him.
“I love you Daddy. You’re the best! I wanna be just like you when I grow up!” he gave him a sweet kiss on the cheek.
“I love you too son! You’re the purest form of love I’ve seen.” The boy clearly didn’t understand what his father meant and he didn’t either bother with it. He just hugged his Superman and clung on to his protective arms.
The day was breaking in. People were arriving in groups as the sun went on higher into the sky. Josh and Daddy turned to go home, their hearts filled with love. Wondering what mom must have made for Josh’s breakfast, he disappeared into the growing crowd, holding tightly to his father.
picture courtesy: deviantART
This one was for you. As a child, I staunchly believed you were the most handsome man there is. Now that I'm all grown up, I see that beauty in you is skin deep. You are an inspiration to me and many around you. Of countless memories I have with me, I remember when I couldn't color within lines and you used to hold my hand and help me with it. I love you Papa! For everything you are and for everything you have made of me...
I love you!