My son Miles has emotions that speed through him without boundaries — mostly inspired by his constant state of wanting. Sometimes I see his brain as a muddy river, and his words and actions as the rocks and water tumbling forth, following the desire for stimulation. In this river, it seems there is nothing except water and rock.
My father is 81 and his depth perception is deteriorating. It’s hard for him to navigate uneven surfaces. We’re walking down a street in an unfamiliar vacation town. Miles pulls my sleeve. I’m certain that he’s going to ask again for the candy I’d refused him.
“Mom.” He’s urgent. I stop, ready to scold him. We’ve been in the car most of the day, and tempers are high. His whining and cajoling make me imagine putting him on the roof rack on the way home. “Mom!” I see a shadow of concern in his face. “Mom, we’re walking too fast for Grandpa, slow down.”
Miles runs to my father, grasps his arm, and holds on tight. Their faces are lit by deep understanding and love. I see my boy in a new way. I sift through the silt of his river and set my assumptions aside. I see glints of gold.