I recently watched a father walking alongside his child who was barely taller than the father’s thigh. They were walking away from me, and I couldn’t hear them, but the child looking up and the father looking down periodically with mouths moving told me they were engaged in earnest discussion as they walked along. The rush back in memory to the feelings I felt 12 and 15 years ago when I was in the same scenario was immediate and visceral. I was experiencing near-total recall of how I relished the art of conversation with a child who relied on me and loved me.
Now that my children are 18 and 21, those conversations are commonplace and at the level of maturity I began desiring more and more once I realized that 5, 7 and 9 year olds could not sustain conversations long if they were of a theoretical nature or otherwise outside their interests (“Too many words” my wife would say as she shook her head.)
But for that moment, I knew what it felt like to be awash in an emotion, to be immersed in a memory that commandeered my senses.
Then the light turned green and I drove away, but not before looking one last time to silently thank the father and child for unwittingly playing a part in exercising my memory and reminding me of how my own two children have blessed me.