On My Hip And In My Heart

We were watching the fireworks at Disney and you were about three. You had that cute little haircut where it was longer on top and short underneath, our little pageboy. Your hair wasn’t blonde then, it was white. We were in a world of double strollers, babies and cheap hotel rooms on a budget. Everything was hard work, whether it was making a trip to the bathroom or popping to the supermarket, planning was involved. And it was hot. So hot. Every time we had to board the shuttle bus I thought your father was going to throw that double stroller straight through the doors of the bus. It was not his happiest place on earth. But you and your sisters loved it. Every second of it.

You were on your fathers shoulders at the end of a very long day. The crowd was heaving and we stood like soldiers that had been made to huddle, all of us waiting for the fireworks to start. As the minutes went by the crowd became thicker, eager anticipation hung in the air. When the introduction came we all smiled at the familiar voice of Julie Andrews. You watched Tinkerbell make her way through the sky and in that very instant I saw the face of a boy who truly believed in fairies.

The music changed and took on an evil tone. Captain Hook was in the sky, you couldn’t see him but his voice was in the background. Peter Pan fought hard and eventually won, and in a split nanosecond of silence you called out over the crowd “take that Captain Hook you big poopy head”. You were deadly serious and genuinely surprised at how your reaction had delighted the crowd.

Tonight, for the first time in a very long time I lifted you onto my hip. Your Dad had your little brother on his shoulders and you’d began the evening standing directly in front of me – but I knew you couldn’t really see. As I lent to lift you I felt a small wiggle of protest until you realized that pride was going to have to take a back seat to the better vantage point. As I moved to the music I watched your lips move in time with voices and saw a similar look of magic, you’d been swept away in it all. As the grand finale began we both gasped as the sky exploded.

“This is just beautiful” I said.

And that’s when you looked at me and smiled before gently kissing me on the cheek.

No words. No fuss. A minute later, it was over and you were back on the ground.

The reason I write this my little man is I need you to know about these moments. For there are so many others that are filled with the mundane. The where are your socks, what were you thinking, put that down.

For a brief moment you were three and then you were nine, next week you’ll be fifteen. But always, you will be right here, on my hip, and in my heart.


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