Thursday, March 29, 2007

A One-Minute Memory

Times being what they are, the Colonel recently found himself in a class where he was required to relate, in about a one minute time span, his Favorite Vacation Memory. Even those he has promised to quit posting all this family stuff, it seems to be the mood he is in lately, so he thanks you for your tolerance.

Here's what he said (sort of...) :

My favorite vacation memory, oddly enough, is from a “working” vacation. My wife, our four children and I were at the McDonald’s Worldwide convention in Orlando Florida. Whenever we had been to conventions with our family in the past, we would typically arrange for child care and other activities to keep our kids occupied while we toured the convention floor, met with vendors, and generally attended to business.

On this particular trip, our children decided they wanted to spend a morning at our hotel, lounging by the pool, while Becky and I went off to the convention center, 10 miles away. They assured us that they could take care of themselves and would meet us on the convention floor for lunch later in the day.

As parents, this was a bit of a stretch for us. We honestly weren’t quite sure our kids were old enough to handle the responsibility of getting themselves ready, finding the appropriate bus, navigating an unfamiliar town, and making their way through a meeting complex so large that it boggles the mind. After some persuasion, however, we relented, gave them specific shuttle directions, and instructed them to meet us on the convention floor, in front of the food service area at half past noon.

This memory doesn’t involve a dramatic missing persons report, or a hilarious series of miscommunications and events, ending with a happy tearful reunion. It wasn’t nearly as exciting as that. Instead, it involves Becky and me, standing in the food service area of the Orange County Convention Center, nervously looking through a teeming crowd of people, hoping to catch a glimpse of our charges, and waiting expectantly for that visual confirmation and that they had arrived safely.

At precisely 12:30 pm, the crowd ahead of us parted for a moment, and there they were, standing together, wearing their neat little McDonald’s shirts, and waiting for us exactly where we had asked them to be.

It was such a small thing, just an instant in our lives. I do not know why, but it seemed to be an epochal moment for our family. It was a moment where time stood still just long enough for Becky and I to realize that things had changed. These four children were no longer that. They were becoming young adults.

We had no idea at the time of the different paths our futures would take, the changes that would occur shortly thereafter, or the wonderful new additions our little circle of a family would gain. I do not believe that we can be trusted, in advance, with that kind of information.

But I do believe we are given glimpses, those moments to grasp that something so important is happening that no random fluctuations of circumstance, before or after the event could alter its significance. This had been one of those glimpses. I believe that had we taken different paths in time, had we made different choices before or after, and had the story of our lives been far different than the reality we now know, we still would have somehow converged on that one moment, looking across the crowd at our four kids, and knowing that nothing would ever be the same.


Blogger Graceland King said...

I thought I was reading C.S. Lewis for a minute...uh, that was a compliment.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Jilb said...

Very nice.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Reinman said...

I'm going to use this for my class fall semester.

"Write like this," I will say.

Then I'll sit and draw comics until they do.

6:56 AM  

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