Magic Moment With My Son
by Sam Cook
Condensed from If This Is Mid-Life, Where's The Crisis?
as printed in Readers Digest October 1993
We are dancing in the living room. Just the two of us.
I'm the one in the blue jeans and T-shirt, getting ready for work. He's the little guy in my arms, almost three, still in his gold pajamas with the feet on them.
I had put the tape on to hear "Silver Thunderbird," a song my Marc Cohn. A tribute to a car is all it is, sung with feeling. It seems to say something about a simpler time, but I'm not seeking deeper meaning at the moment.
The little guy has his legs around my waist. He's soft and wiry at the same time, and he still smells like last night's sleep. We have the volume cranked up good so we can feel the music.
Mom is brushing the eight-year-old's hair in the next room. The music is too loud to hear if they're laughing at us or at something else. But if they're getting a chuckle at our expense it's worth it.
We swoop over the living room. I do things I would never consider on a dance floor. We spin. We dip until my boy's hair all hangs down.
If you know anything about almost three-year-olds, you know they don't stay with one thing for long. It wouldn't surprise me if he suddenly slid from my arms and hopped away to play with his toy gas station.
But he doesn't.
Clinging to me like a little monkey, he nuzzles his face against my neck. It is one of those happenings between a parent and a child that gets inside you and brings you fully into the moment.
After you've been at the dad game for a while, you know how rare such moments are. You can never predict them - and you will do almost anything to prolong them.
The music carries us away as we whirl around the room.
You can keep you Eldorados,
And the foreign car's absurd.
Me, I wanna go down
In a silver Thunderbird.
There is no more morning paper, no more eight-year-old's lunch to make. It's just the two of us, hugging and dancing and lost in time.
There are things about being a parent you know are coming. Getting to know your pharmacist on a first-name basis. Putting Band-Aids on tiny hurts.
But then there are moments like this that no one can prepare you for. Suddenly you are aware of something much stronger than you ever expected, something palpable between you and that little guy you helped bring into the world, and what he means to you and what you must mean to him.
It's a flash of insight so strong it almost knocks you over, but you keep on dancing so the spell won't be broken.
When the music stops, the little person on my chest leans back and looks up at me. He says, "Another song's coming on, Dad."
We dance to it too.