I’m Going to Carry This Weight a Long Time

Last night Atticus fell asleep, sitting upright, just as we were ready to leave Disneyland. Zane was already sleeping in the stroller. My wife and sister were lost beyond a sea of people, waiting for coffee and justifying caramel apples.

I stood with my mother and my two sleeping children and 60,000 people that I had never met. Except they were not standing. They were moving as one. A giant wave of wheels and balloons, hitting upon my ankles and lingering across my shore. It carried us from where we waited and melted us into its masses.

I picked up a sleeping three year old and I started walking. It is not far from the gates of Disneyland to the door of our hotel. It is a nice stroll on any given afternoon, with your strength intact and room to breathe in.

It is further at the end of the night, after 12 hours of non-stop walking and playing, joy and frustration. It is unreachable when smothered with exhaustion and your load is heavy.

I carried Atticus over a quarter of a mile. Forty pounds wrapped around my weakened frame. His sleep was sound. My back was killing me.

As were my feet, and my arms, and my head. Yet, I did not falter, for I knew that this walk would be the last embrace between a father and his three-year-old son.

In the morning he would wake up four, and even heavier to carry.

Birthdays are bittersweet, and as ready as I was, I was unprepared.

Happy Birthday, Atticus. Let’s take this year a little slower.

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