Monday, November 3, 2008

Teaching them the important stuff -- jcarolek

This afternoon my Dad sent me a link to photos he had taken at my son's wedding and reception last weekend. I enjoyed perusing through the photos, laughing as I recalled the fun we all had there that day. One of the images that has stuck with me all week is of my brother Ray dancing, jitterbugging actually, with his eleven year old daughter. They were so wrapped up in pure fun they appeared oblivious to the cameras of family and friends as we captured that moment.

Ray was visibly exhausted at the end of the dance and went seeking a seat and water, while Haley joined the rest of her cousins and friends on the dance floor, possessing that energy of only the very young. And still, before long, Ray was up and out there again, dancing with the kids and having a great time. (We elderly can still PRETEND youth now and then).

Eventually, the hired DJ took his leave as did most of the guests. The dance floor cleared for the first time in several hours, and I was surprised to see (OK, perhaps not REALLY surprised) Ray out on that floor once again. However, this time he was not dancing with his daughter. No, as the the exchange student who has returned for a second stay with my brother Dan's family donned one of the table setting wreathes my daughter had made, wearing it like, just another hat, Ray and his son Andrew performed acrobatics for those too weary to leave in a hurry.

I missed most of this, as I had gone out to the car to change clothes, and was glad Dad managed to snap a picture of Andrew as he balanced on Ray's shoulders before the easy family crowd. At thirteen, I guess there are a lot of lessons a boy can learn from his father, and not the least is to perfect balance.

These two, Andrew and Haley, are the youngest of Dad's grandkids and they are learning many lessons, I'm sure, from their cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents (they learn from Mom and Dad EVERY DAY). But I find it delightful that, even where there is so much commotion, so many OTHER distractions, the children still obviously enjoy learning from their parents. Perhaps what they learn, the best lesson of all, is not the grace or the balance, but the comfort of family, the freedom to really enjoy just being who they are, and knowing that family will not only accept them, but will join them in making the experience one never to forget.

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