Monday, June 11, 2012

A Father And His Sons

Matt Barnes talking with his son
          A couple of weeks ago we took our boys to Knotts Berry Farm for a fun filled day of long lines and roller coaster rides. As can be imagined we were not the only ones with this brilliant idea!!! As my family and I were enjoying Camp Snoopy we spotted Matt Barnes from the Los Angeles Lakers!!! He was with his family. I have to admit, my first impulse was to grab my family and take a picture with this "Laker." It's not like just because we live in L.A. we run into professional basketball players everyday! But; instead of hitting him up for a photo like I quietly wished, I watched him and his family stand in line to get on several rides. I watched as people constantly approached him with the intent of getting a chance at having a photo taken with him.  Not once did he say no! Not a single time in the nearly two hours that I observed him did he say no. He graciously said yes and then posed. Time after time!!! While most of the time his wife and twin sons had to continue on their family outing without him.
          The patrons of Knotts Berry Farm could be heard in the lines talking about "the Laker" that was in our midst. The Camp Snoopy employees looked excited when they realized their particular ride had been chosen by the Barnes family. I sat and observed this "famous" basketball player interact with his family as I don't think I have ever seen a famous person out in public and especially not  so casually with family. As I watched Matt Barnes pose time after time, I began to feel sorry for him and his family. Their family time was continually being interrupted! I couldn't help but to wonder how those children might feel over the fact that  their father kept having to step away from them to tend to his fans.
          I was amazed at how normal the Barnes family seemed. It was as Matt Barnes and his family stood in line for a roller coaster ride that I realized that being a father  knows no color, knows no fame and knows no socioeconomic level. A father is a father. A father takes care of his children. A father consoles and loves his children. A father provides for his children. A father takes time for his children. Even famous father's!
          I watched as one of his twin sons got out of line and ran to a nearby building. It was clear on this child's face that he was upset and bothered by something. Matt Barnes knew this also and kept a close eye on his son. It was evident that Matt Barnes was concerned for his son. As his son inched his way around the corner of the building and was out of his fathers view, Matt Barnes jumped the railing of the ride to follow his son. Before he was even able to reach his son he was stopped by fans wanting a picture. He graciously accepted their petition like he had so many times before. After the picture was taken he was finally able to reach his son. He first bent over to talk to his son who then began to huddle behind  a trash can. Barnes then squatted his 6 foot 7 inches of a body and got even closer to this little boy who obviously was in need of some attention from his father. They spoke and they happily returned to the roller coaster line.
          I found this quiet father/son moment so touching. I was then reminded of Luther Vandross' song

Back when I was a child, before life removed all the innocence
My father would lift me high and dance with my mother and me and then
Spin me around 'til I fell asleep
Then up the stairs he would carry me
And I knew for sure I was loved
If I could get another chance, another walk, another dance with him
I'd play a song that would never, ever end

How I'd love, love, love
To dance with my father again
When I and my mother would disagree
To get my way, I would run from her to him
He'd make me laugh just to comfort me
Then finally make me do just what my mama said
Later that night when I was asleep
He left a dollar under my sheet
Never dreamed that he would be gone from me
If I could steal one final glance, one final step, one final dance with him
I'd play a song that would never, ever end

'Cause I'd love, love, love
To dance with my father again
Sometimes I'd listen outside her door
And I'd hear how my mother cried for him
I pray for her even more than me
I pray for her even more than me
I know I'm praying for much too much
But could you send back the only man she loved
I know you don't do it usually
But dear Lord she's dying
To dance with my father again
Every night I fall asleep and this is all I ever dream

What do our children think of us? How do they feel about us? My favorite line in this song is "And I knew for sure I was loved." My hope and prayer is that all children can say that they know for sure that they are loved. I pray my own sons will know this...

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