Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Season(s) of a year or life (01/13/11)
TITLE: I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up
By Michael Joshua
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Two grandsons hold out their hands to help pull me up. It would be better for me if they were older than seven, but I grasp their hands anyway. As they look at one another and fall onto my chest in tandem, I realize that it was a calculated ambush.
It seems like it was just last week, or maybe a month ago, that I was finishing high school.
Dealing with the insecurities of life ahead.
Would I marry or remain single? Is it really true that there is a 'soulmate' for everyone or is that just more hogwash thrown at me by a caring family wishing to spare me the harsh realities of life?
After all, these are the same people that told me about a tooth fairy – and put a quarter under my pillow – but only for a molar. The smaller teeth only earned me a dime. How inflation has changed that interaction. My grandson gets a five-dollar bill, no matter what tooth he loses. When I told him what I received under my pillow, he let me know that this is exactly why MY tooth fairy got fired, and his tooth fairy is better.
There's always that Santa malarkey too. Yeah, that big, old fat man slips down a chimney. Right. That happens. But, still, I believed it. I had too. My parents wouldn't lie to me – or would they?
The early death of my dad brought with it a reality check and a new season of life from which I thought I would never recover. But twelve-year-olds are resilient and soon I was back in school feeling relatively normal again.
Then I was told that I can be anything I want to be. Really? Why do parents perpetuate this lie upon young people that are so impressionable? Now, don't get me wrong, I understand the sentiment. The reason is to force me to see potential where otherwise, I would see an obstacle. After all, I knew that I was immortal and invincible – at fifteen.
So, going through life, one lie after another. Believing –being crushed. Believing again – then being crushed again. Time after time.
I finally got through high school, started that first job – soon to be on my own and free of all that motherly supervision. Only to find out I had it pretty good while at home – mom doing my laundry and making my meals – now I have rent to pay and it really does matter if I leave the lights on. So, the big money doesn't really exist. At least, not for me. Eating beans out of a can and bologna sandwiches – and I hated bologna.
Paycheck to paycheck.
Marriage, then children.
Paycheck to paycheck.
The kids grow up and are smarter than I am – just ask them.
Marriage, divorce, marriage, grandchildren – cross-country moves, career changes, back to school at 50 years old. What was I thinking?
I finally understand.
The seasons of my life are not obvious until they are behind me.
I look back and see them now.
Looking forward – more career changes – more risks – the love of grandchildren.
I don't know what season this is, or what I will call it 20 years from now –
but this time, this present age –
grandchildren hanging on my legs, asking me to play video games or watching while they play them…
getting down on the mat to be pinned by a seven-year-old wrestler, even though I might not be able to get up from the floor with these old knees…
praying my young granddaughter under God's influence within the first few days of her life, choking back the tears…
getting new grandkids when they marry into the family, and enjoying the way they gravitate to a grandpa they never knew…
looking at ultrasounds of a new one on the way…
is my all-time favorite age so far.
Grandchildren – the best season of life.
They bring Spring, Summer and Autumn back with them when they come.
The seasons are so enjoyable now.
Even if I have fallen and I can't get up.
But who cares? Someone will join me on the floor soon.
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