An Hour With Connor

This week has flown by. It seems like yesterday was Monday. I’ve found my mind wandering from thought to thought with reckless abandon the last few days. I’ve experienced a variety of things that have brought out mixed emotions on many different levels.

Yesterday was one of the best days I can remember in a long time. Nothing special or fabulous happened, but the day was still good. I could try to put it into perspective for everyone to understand but I think I will just keep it to myself and let it rest easily in the back of my mind as a treasured memory.

When I left work yesterday I went to meet someone who is very close to me at the coffee shop. She asked if it would be ok if she brought her nephew along. I actually welcomed it because I thoroughly enjoy kids, especially in the 3-5 year old range and he is 3. Although we were only there for a little over an hour, it was surely an experience that I will carry with me for a while. I brought the little guy a gift. It was only a ball, but he enjoyed it, as any child would. We tossed the ball back and forth as we sat at the table. Every once in a while it fell to the floor, but it allowed me to center my attention on his aunt, while he crawled under the table to retrieve it.

The kid was absolutely adorable. He gave me life and it radiated throughout my body the rest of the evening. As I watched my friend interact with him it became blatantly obvious to me that she would be a good mother. Everything she did was motherly and if I didn’t know the difference I would have assumed that he was her own child. It’s funny because I’ve sometimes watched parents interact with their children in the same atmosphere and I’ve sat there and wondered why the people even had kids. However, as I watched her, there was no doubt in my mind that she would be a great mother. She kept him under control and made sure that he didn’t interrupt anyone around us. Then, as we left the coffee shop, she made sure to gather him up into her arms and hold him like any mother would hold her child. After she buckled him in the car seat I gave her a hug goodbye and we both left.

My ride home was a little emotional and it continued into the night when I laid my head on my pillow to sleep. When I saw the little guy in my head I had all sorts of memories race through my mind. I saw my own childhood and the many times I went shopping with my mom. I still remember one time when I lost my favorite winter hat at the Zayer’s Department store. It was devastating, but my mom found a way to take my mind off from it and calm me down. She bought us a hamburger and we shared it. I believe I was 4 years old, but for some reason I remember it. My mother’s influence on me started way back then. I’m sure that Connor will remember his aunt’s influence when he gets older. When I watched them interact I could tell that they shared a special bond.

As I laid in silence and stared at the ceiling I felt that agonizing pain that resurfaces every now and then. The pain that follows me along because I never had children. I enjoyed myself with the two of them in the afternoon, but it left me a little empty afterward. I’m not sure, but I think I could have been a good parent. Heck, I have the best role models in the world. Even if I was half of the parent that my parents were to me I would still be a wonderful father and role model.  There was probably a time where I wouldn’t have given all of what I had to watch the development of a child, but now as I grow older, I think it would have been pretty easy. I sometimes start the should have or could have game, but in the end I did what I thought was right and I have to live with that decision. Rather than thinking about myself and what I really truly wanted I made the decision for what could have been my own child. I didn’t want to bring a child into the world that I thought had a chance of being brought up in an unstable environment. I wasn’t comfortable with where I was in life and what I was experiencing. Now, looking back on it, I think I made the right choice. Although I believe this, it doesn’t take the pain away from the lost dream. I love being around children and I enjoy making them smile and laugh. It might be because I feel like I’m one of them. It might even be because I feel like I make a small difference in their lives. I’m sure Connor probably won’t remember me as he grows older, but I’m glad I was given an opportunity to hang out with him for an afternoon. He smiled, he laughed and he had fun. He was full of life and so was I. The way my friend acted with him made me realize that she just has what it takes, where so many others don’t. Motherhood and parenting are very tough skills and at this day in age there are very few women who have the ability to succeed in raising their children to be happy, confident and content in life.

To this day I don’t know why my life has taken shape the way it has, but I don’t complain. If I had kids when I was younger I may never have cemented the tight relationship I have with my own father. I’m sure we would still be close, but I’m not sure we would be as close as we are. I don’t search too hard for the answers anymore. However, I’ve realized that whenever I think I have things figured out something jumps out of the bushes at me and takes me by surprise.

I’ve recently found myself in a spot exactly like that. I no longer try to make sense out of anything. I’ve learned to sit back, take things as they come and enjoy the ride. You have to do things with people that make you happy and you have to welcome others into your life. Sometimes people put too many conditions on things. I’m glad I didn’t do that. I had an opportunity that knocked on my front door with no holds barred and I hesitantly cracked the door open. I stayed just far enough inside the door to see the figure on the other side. After a little bit I cautiously opened the door. As the door came open I could feel a breath of fresh air and a light breeze on my face. I was hesitant, but I made the choice to welcome the soul that was knocking to come inside my world. Life is good right now. I’m a little anxious as I have so many things in front of me, but I welcome it with open arms. Since I’ve never been a risk taker I have always lived a kind of quiet and reserved life. I’ve probably passed chances up on great things because I was too afraid to  take a chance. Recently, I learned that some of the greatest things in life come from taking a simple chance. When things appear in our lives we often don’t give enough thought as to why. I’ve recently started thinking about it and now I live by this quote, “Welcome anything that comes to you, but do not look for anything else.” I think great things sometimes come out of nowhere simply because we stop looking so hard.

As for Connor…………he brought some hope back to my life. As I gazed into his aunt’s eyes I knew that she wouldn’t even begin to fathom what the hour with her and her nephew had done for me. Although it brought me a tiny bit of sadness it also showed me a fond memory as well as a glimmer of hope. It made me realize that although I went through hell in the hallway to get to where I am, that maybe life is just now starting all over again with new dreams, old memories and an inner peace that so many people never find.

As she carried him to the car I could see myself as a child in his tired eyes. I could also see exactly why I made the choice I did a few years back. Most of all, I could see clearly that I’m now in a peaceful place where I’m excited for what the future holds in store for me. Sometimes taking a chance can be a very rewarding experience. Thanks for asking me to take a chance and giving me faith that I was doing the right thing.

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