August 08, 2008

Fathers & Sons

The Boulder Public Library, of which I have become an avid fan, sits next to Boulder Creek. More accurately, it sits over Boulder Creek. The entrance to the community art gallery and theater borders Canyon Boulevard on the north; a narrow addition containing a cafĂ©, gift shop, and free book shelves spans the creek to connect to the main library which borders Arapahoe Avenue on the south. Between these two streets runs the Boulder Creek and Boulder’s Central Park, an open grassy areas with steps leading into the creek, trails for walking and cycling, and an amphitheater shell for concerts.

On particularly scorching days, I escape my non-air conditioned cottage and head for the Library. After a satisfying search, I head with an afghan and my treasures to the shady grass under the tall cottonwoods by the creek. It is usually quite busy, full of people walking dogs, riding bicycles, wading in the still cold water, and tubing down the little rapids. The air is cool there, thanks to natural air conditioning. There are always lots of families and lots of children.

Once I watched a young father. He sat in his swim trunks, flip flops, and baseball cap, on the green grass next to the Library garden. Boulder is full of beautiful people and he was certainly no exception, but what caught my eye was the tow-headed toddler curled in his lap, leaning contentedly against his bear chest. The man was speaking to the child, what I could not hear, but I could see his mouth move and a smile crinkle the corner of his eyes. The child listened, his little fist curled by his chin. After a while, the child hopped up and when running across the grass, where it made a slight bowl. He ran up one side and down the other to where his still-sitting father caught him before he did it all over again. He smiled and laughed. After a while he returned to sit on his dad’s lap, chattering vigorously, then eventually curled up again to rest. Soon the whole scene was repeated. Both father and child seemed so very happy, so content to just wile the day away on the grass next to Boulder Creek. I watched them surreptitiously from behind my novel.

I have never been on the Mommy Track. I have occasionally thought I might like to have children someday. I have always believed that when that someday arrived, I would see to it, whether that day included a man in my life or not. I always felt it would be preferable, but I wasn’t going to hold out. My opinions hasn’t really changed, and yet….and yet….

Watching that father and son, I realize I would want that for my child. I would want to know there was someone with whom he or she could chatter and lean against and run through the grass with. I would want my child to be that happy. I would want to know my child had someone with whom he or she could be that happy, should anything happen to me, even just in the event that I couldn’t be there every hour of every day, which is more than likely.

I’m still not holding out, and yet…

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