Remember running around the house with a towel tucked into your shirt and flying like Superman? Kids still do, and probably always will. Here you will find the story of a child who did too.
I Can Fly Dad!
By Richard R. Radtke
My son Ethan's birthday was the other day, four years old and going strong. Every day like every child, he discovers something new, and I with him. He has a stubborn streak, which is good, although there are times. He is curious, and tries to be helpful when he can, usually I just grin at him and sigh inside, then follow behind and pick up.
One morning not long ago I was standing in the bathroom, shaving, having just showered and dressed, Ethan came tapping at the closed door, and I said "What now Ethan?", (probably a little to gruffly I now realize). His small, strong voice answered, somewhat muffled through the door, "Dad...," "Dad, I can fly", in a solemn voice akin to that of a judge passing sentence.
At this point I feel I must ask you the reader, from what deep wellspring of adult wisdom can pull up a reply to that pronouncement. Do you take the time to sit down and say, "No, son you really can't fly, but you can imagine that you can", this approach designed to shower him with a cold dose of reality, followed up with an explanation of why he can't fly. Unfortunately to the child, this approach can be likened to Mom or Dad coming home and walking in the door announcing, "Whoops, I ran over the Easter bunny on the way home". I suppose there are those parents out there who would take this psychological approach, Dr. Spock and all that. Well, I chose another course in this instance, and gave the well known and much practiced "Dad" reply. This world renowned reply which we fathers (and husbands) reserve for those special situations when we are actually confused, a situation that occurs among men with frightful regularity, at least according to all those fancy studies. Really, men can handle most tangible things and situations, for instance; we can handle shoveling the snow, we can handle a broken faucet, but announcements that come from left field, make us..., well, have you ever seen the confusion in a deer's eyes, when he is caught in the glare of your headlights on the road, a man who has just heard one of these left announcements feels like that, trapped as it were, with no where to run. Now getting back on track to the patented "Dad" reply, it's time honored lines go simply, "That's nice son" ( and yes, you can insert "dear" in place of "son"),
Tried and true , burnished with the voices of thousands of men through centuries of use, I uttered the perfected phrase, "That's nice son", and Ethan satisfied now that his great announcement from left field had received its accolades, went back to every little brothers main passion in life, namely that of annoying his older brother. I relaxed, knowing the crisis had passed, reassured now as to the wisdom of my reply by the sound of Ethan's footsteps receding into the distance, and went back to my shaving, and here the story could end, but it doesn't.
I stood there looking into the mirror, and thinking that perhaps, Ethan really could fly, it really would not surprise me, if anyone could, it would be Ethan. I remembered in my youth when I too could fly, but now that I'm grown up I can't. I don't really know exactly when it was I discovered I couldn't fly anymore, perhaps it was around the same time I stopped seeing animal shapes in the fluffy clouds of the sky. I don't really know, at least not exactly, but a lot of my childhood magic disappeared one day. I stopped shaving and stood there, staring at myself in the mirror on the wall. I silently wished for the magic's return, but the magic did not appear. Finished shaving, I walked out into the living room, to find Willis and Ethan playing, so I paused and just watched. Ethan was sitting in the laundry basket, (the one he has been told to leave alone numerous times) a sharp word I felt spring to my lips. Before it was uttered, Ethan in a breath of childish glee, called out, "Daddy, my jet, I'm flying, see!!". The word of rebuke forgotten, I stared, and for a brief instant, I saw what Ethan saw there. The clear blue sky, fluffy clouds floating by, and way, way down below many people looking up at me, waving... and for small second of time that long forgotten magic of childhood so long ago came back and revisited my soul.
One last little thing, to tie up this tail, (forgive the pun) it's about the Easter Bunny, he's still alive and doing quite well....
Copyright 2008 Richard. Radtke