Tonight after everyone is asleep, I am walking in the rain around the block in Pittsburgh. Looking in the all the windows of the houses I used to play in as a child. I am pushing my 6 month old son Asher. We have been looking at each other and laughing so much the past hour – and he has to go to sleep. My raincoat is covering his stroller. He is letting out the last cries before giving in. It feels impossible to be pushing my own child around Squirrel Hill. I want to tell him something no words could possibly explain. I want him to remember what our eyes have been saying. I want him to remember this walk, this night, at six months. When we were together. When it was drizzling. When I was walking him into slumber - and I was so in love with my little boy. When my tears were mixing with the rain. I need to let him know the big smile that lights up his face all day has to rest at night.
We are in the backyard of the home where I grew up on Inverness St. Jackson lays down in the wet, sun drenched grass and says, “it’s warm, Daddy.” I lay down next to him and we stare up at the tree that has always been the marker for each stage of my life. When I was young in the hammock swinging. When I was in college wondering where this life would take me. When my father was sick, I would stare up at the oak tree wanting so much to hold onto every part of that moment. To stop time. To keep my Dad along for the ride. Now, laying with Jackson staring up. I want to roll my whole life into this moment we share. I want him to feel that beautiful shade from the new leaves in this spring of 2011. I want Jackson to know how this tree watched over me, as it had my parents and grandparents. I want Jackson to know the tree contains a lot of his history, and at this same moment we are adding to it’s legacy. I want him to know this tree has protected his father as it will protect him. I want him to feel safe so he can take chances.