‘What They’re Doing Now’

I went out for a walk after dinner. A Garth Brooks song came on my playlist. My mind wandered.

It’s so rare I let it do that. The busy days rush by, every thought, every moment occupying my mind. If we don’t pause, daydream, unfocus, years can fly by.

Garth Brooks is bringing his tour to town in a few weeks. I don’t listen to much country music these days, but we are going to see him – me, my boyfriend and another couple. He’s such a good storyteller, centering in on little life moments and magnifying them into poignant vignettes.

I remember the last time I saw Garth in concert, when he came to Fresno in 1997. My “date” was a little boy, one of my stepsons at the time.  That little guy, about 8 at the time, managed to fall asleep for a few songs in the middle of that raucous concert.

That little guy, and his older brother, aren’t so little any more. Both are fathers. And they haven’t been part of my life for a long time. The last time I saw either of them, in fact, was exactly 10 years ago.

My life is sweet these days. I feel so blessed, in so many ways. But still at times, wisps of what didn’t work out cause pangs.

I am grateful for the children I still have in my life, a son and three daughters. I am also grateful for the years I spent with those other two lost sons. They helped prepare me for family that came after them.

Two small framed photos of them still sit on a shelf, capturing them when they were toddlers, probably younger than their own children are today. I still think of them, from time to time. I wonder, “what they’re doing now,” to paraphrase a Garth Brooks song.

I saw a Ray Bradbury quote earlier today, from his book “Dandelion Wine”:

“And, after all, isn’t that what life is all about, the ability to go around back and come up inside other people’s heads to look out at the damned fool miracle and say: Oh, so that’s how you see it? Well, now. I must remember that.”

So many different perspectives on life. Not just ours. Every broken marriage has two perspectives. Every happy relationship has two points of view. As parents, we see things one way; our children see it another.

We owe it to our fellow travelers on this planet to try to climb into their heads, to walk in their shoes, and see things from a view outside ourselves.




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