Monday, March 1, 2010

"Haunted by Waters"

"I am Haunted by Waters." The final words of "A River Runs Through It" still echo in my own mind, even though I first heard them 18 years ago. Something about that movie speaks to me; I am a sucker for grand themes and commentaries on unifying truths.

I think of my kids, my family, my life, when I ponder this movie. Like my kids, I wish the "river" might be an unchanging thing, a constant. I know this is how my kids, probably all young kids, look at life. They look at my wife and me, our parents, their school, this pillars, stone pillars, immutable, everlasting. They regard summers as a pack of identical cards, winters as octuplets/dodecuplets, springs and falls as backwards twins. They'll always be kids, we'll always be stodgy adults, wet blankets to their wanna-be forest fires.

Late at night, I sometimes tell my wife that I feel like their childhood is slipping past me. For me, the river, though a constant, is a changing thing. I can't grab any part of the river before it's gone, replaced by another piece. They are different people every day: the cuddly baby becomes the adorable (i.e. frustrating) toddler who becomes the industrious school-aged child who morphs into the independent teen.

I understand the currents wash these developing people away and replace them with similar, but deeper, people. Greedy I am, wanting both the younger child and the older, but I am also greedy for my much-missed grandfather to be here with my own great-grandchildren.

I played a Twister, Dr. Seuss game with them tonight. I'll have to remember always to play before I do the dishes. Swimming against the current is probably a losing effort, but I am one heck of a swimmer. Backstroke, of course.


  1. Brian-
    I feel the same way; missing my grandparents, missing my nursing infants, and still impatient for them to be old enough to snowboard and play cribbage and travel with me.
    Sometimes I wonder if my job is to participate in their youth or just to provide a safe framework for it, i.e. do I play with them or do the dishes so that they can play uninterrupted by my to do list?

  2. Dr. D -

    I loved this post. I miss the days when my kids were little. My boys are getting older and time has gone by so fast. When they were little we used to have "family game night" on Friday evenings. We tried to do it every Friday, but I think the best we could do was once a month. Now I wish we did it every Friday, because those days have slipped away. Lately on Fridays I have been dropping one son off at Chess Club just before I am racing to pick up the other one at Ski Club. Gone are the Fridays that they will sit on my lap and play Chutes and Ladders. What happened to them?


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