Sunday, August 27, 2006

The View from the Window

He sat at the window every day and watched. We couldn’t make out his face, but it was always there. We’d spend the summer playing softball, the neighborhood kids and I, every night after dinner. We’d play in the street most of the time and sometimes, we’d have races; but most of the time, we played ball.

I was thirteen when my father died. He died of a massive heart attack when he arrived home from a new job. My summer was empty until I signed up for Sugar League softball, as in 16 inch softball. Once I began to play, summer was never the same. I was an All Star from the start, hitting farther than nearly every girl, running faster than all of them and a pretty good first baseman at that. Any time I was near a baseball field, the feeling was the same, I’d always want to play. From time to time, there would be other games on the field, and they’d need another player. I’d always hang around watching, hoping they’d ask me to play. While I was waiting, I’d always have that burning desire to play, the adrenalin building up inside me, like water behind a dam, waiting to explode. And soon, they’d ask me if I wanted to play. I always said yes. I didn’t care who I played for, I just wanted to play and wanted to win. I never denied myself an opportunity to slide into base, sometimes it was necessary and sometimes it was not. It was always dramatic. I don’t think I ever went home with a clean uniform. After all, it was summer and it was softball season.

I think of these summers and think of Dear Son. He too, sits in front of the picture window at his father’s house. Sits in the rocker and watches the neighborhood kids play, and sometimes, even playing in the street. He watches them on their bikes, getting ice cream, getting in and out of the car from a movie or simply going to a baseball game with their uniform on and bat in their hand. He used to be able to sit and watch them on his knees while leaning against the front room wall, the window pushed up to clear his head, so his nose could press up firmly against the screen, as if he were trying to suck in every bit of a summer breeze. Today, he sits in the rocker, his head leaning against the window for support, so he doesn’t tip over. He sits there until he can’t support himself any longer, and his Dad lifts him up and carries him over to the sofa.

Sometimes, he sits outside in his rocker but the view is still the same, just a different spot. He’s closer to the action, if you want to call it that, but never close to being in the game. I often wonder what Dear Son is thinking as he watches these boys. I wonder if he imagines himself hitting home runs, as I often did, or wonder if he wishes he could be part of them, just once, and go along, even if just for the ride. I wonder how that experience would change him, if it would make him feel more like one of them, or just make him feel more like a man.

I remember flipping through the channels and catching bits and pieces of a show on TLC recently, about a rare form of dwarfism, where the children grow up extremely tiny and age really fast. Their bodies never reach four feet tall, full grown, and their faces are disfigured and aged far beyond their years. Their teeth were odd too and they looked more like misfits than human beings. In one episode, one of the kids, got his wish to play the drums in this band that he liked. He was so excited. He played with them and said he dreamed of being a rock star. This was about the furthest dream for him since he would never be rock star material, even if he could play really well. What struck me, was how this one event would forever change his life. For once, he got to be the star and do what he wanted, play the drums and pretend he “was” a rock star. It was a memory he would cherish the rest of his life. But what I remember most, was the look on his face. It was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to him in his entire life.

I thought back to Dear Son, sitting in the window. I wondered what one thing he would want, more than anything. I wished he could tell me and I wished I could make it come true. I think of how sad it is sometimes, to live life on the outside, always looking in, always wondering what it would be like, to be “in the game”. I wish just once, he could tell me.


Dreaming again said...

He is blessed to have you for a Dream Mom.

I know, there are days you probably tire of hearing that. But it's true.

I wish he could tell you, too. That he could have that dream come true.

He tells you so much ... but it would be nice for you to hear the words not just see the light.

You're in my prayers. Always.

Cathy said...

I wish he could tell you that dream mom.

When I have seen special needs children watching other children play I too have wondered what they think.

Prayers and ((hugz))

wolfbaby said...

you are in my thoughts and prayers..

Danielle said...

Dream Mom-
Your post reminds me of a stanza in Jack London's "White Fang." I used to have it memorized but now I cannot find it :( I am going to have to look it up for you...

dki617 said...

It would be nice to know, wouldn't it?


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