I held my son in my arms and congratulated him on winning the race, I saw the splitting image of my younger self. The warm chestnut-brown of his large eyes and brushed blonde hair could have been a reflection of my childhood. He congratulated his fellow pint-sized competitors while grinning triumphantly at me and I looked around, watching the other children shouting and screaming, their ear shattering voices deceiving their miniature stature.
Watching my son George, my mind went back to the day he was born. I’m not ashamed to admit that I had cried that day, overcome with joy.
Looking at him, I realised how much he had grown. His once tiny bald head now full of long blonde hair; the once delicate skin of his body now covered in bumps and bruises. George also shared my love of animals. He adored our dark chocolate lab, Rocky, named after the famous boxer as he was always looking for a scrap but he was always obedient to me so I had taken my loyal companion with me. Now sitting on the freshly mown grass, George playfully petted Rocky, the fresh scent of the grass lingering in the air as the sun beat down on us on that fine summers afternoon. I wish I had taken my camera with me to capture this perfect moment in time. The thing about photographs is that they will always stay the same and are with you forever even when the things in them change.
“Dad, let’s go home,” shouted George over the deafening clatter of the home time bell. He was eager to get home because his mum was coming home from a week long work course. He had missed her terribly and I had too.
“Okay Champ,” I replied, “hold my hand then.“ With George’s tiny fingers in one hand and Rocky’s lead in the other, we left the bustling school for the quiet streets outside.
As we passed rows and rows of identical houses, we came across one we recognized from the others: my mother in law’s. Several derelict footballs lay strewn across the slightly overgrown grass as a souvenir of George’s previous visits. “Can I take one with me dad?”
“Okay, but don’t play with it near the road,” I said sternly.
“I won’t, I promise,” he replied with a grin.
He sprang over the run down garden wall and scampered across the untidy lawn to grab a football. Before I knew it he was back over and strolling in front of me and Rocky. The sun was glaring down on us, baking the ground dry.
The peaceful chattering of birds could be heard as they flew overhead. It was the time of year when the inexperienced young began to fly for the first time while their wary parents...