Saturday, January 26, 2013

My middle place

I am a middle person: The exact middle of 5 children and the middle of the three remaining. I am near middle of the gaggle of kids making up my extended family, the middle in my home. Wherever I turn, I am in the middle.

On my outings with Sam and my father I find myself in the middle as well.

Sam is usually the left of me and my father to the right. This lines us up by chronological age as we make our way to our destination. From my place in the middle, I hold tightly to Sam's jacket to curb his desire to run ahead. I link my other arm with my father to support his balance. It is thus we enter a nearby coffee shop: our multi-generational trio, each wearing easy smiles, that trait, my mother often said, a gift from my father.

Once seated I listen to the flow of the conversation. Though their communication styles differ, humor bridges the gap between my father and Sam. I watch Sam giggle and make faces, discreetly looking up to see if he has caught my father’s attention. My father waits expectantly and inevitably laughs. I shake my head and say, “Please don't encourage him.” But once my father starts laughing he can’t stop. He has always been that way. I am reminded how much I love his laughter. I laugh too, suddenly happy to be in on the joke.

Once we've finished our coffee, my father asks, "Andiamo, Jin?" In a mock solemn tone I respond, "Andiamo." We exit as we entered: a smiling trio, arms linked. Our smiles are contagious; I notice neighboring people smile up at us as we slowly make our way out the door.

As I watch my father walk there are subtle reminders our outings will end sooner than I'd like. I brush them away. I’d rather focus on the joy of today. Focus on what we have now and savor this, my place in the middle. 

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