The Truth Is
I forgot my kids at school yesterday. Completely. At 3:40 p.m., almost an hour after they were released, the school tracked me down here in my office, (I wear headphones to drown out the noise). The lady said, “Ummm…Mr. Martin, we have your sons in the office.”
I jumped up. Oh Crap! Son of a…
Actually,I think I thought something else but you get the picture. “I’ll be right there.” Christy was off doing some stuff with her sister on a much-needed break. She’d left me with strict instructions. Even texted me a little after noon to remind me. This one was ALL me.
Four minutes later, I walked in the office, “Hey guys.”
“Daaaaaaaad…what happened?” They were not impressed.
“Well…” I hugged them, kissed them and laughed. “Truth is…I totally forgot you.”
They shook their heads. “Thanks, Dad.” My boys are pretty well adjusted. Didn’t seem to ding them too much. They shrugged it off. We got home, they got a snack, hit their bikes and they’d forgotten it (I think) in five minutes. They don’t seem overly wounded. No therapy in the future. I don’t expect to see grades dropping below a scorable level.
I, on the other hand, walked back in here, sat down below a sign hanging in my office which reads, Imagination is Evidence of the Divine, and thought, I’m a total piece of crap. What kind of dad forgets his children? Then I looked here, into this white-paged world where I dream and where I get lost and where time doesn’t follow me and where words create entire worlds and I wondered if maybe, when they’re older and they read all this stuff and they realize that dad day-dreamed for a living—like actually gets paid to dream stuff up—then maybe they’ll understand. Forgive me. Laugh. Maybe they’ll get lost in one of my stories, forget the time, and maybe they’ll find their own phone is ringing. It’s the school.
Guys…you’re not really old enough to understand this. One day, yes, but put this in perspective, this morning you all walked to school dressed as your favorite Dr. Seuss characters – Fox in socks and the King in stilts. I’d be willing to bet that Dr. Seuss lived in a white-paged world, too. A world where he didn’t, and couldn’t’, live halfway—one foot in the screen, one foot on the desk. That doesn’t work. It’s an all or nothing thing. Same is true with your heart but you’ll figure that out soon enough.
Yesterday, I was in here working on the book that will follow Mountain. Novel #8. A good story I think. Maybe my toughest yet. Certainly ambitious. You might wonder, ‘But Dad…come one. We’re your own flesh and blood? How do you forget your own sons?’ The best answer I can give is Eric Liddell? Remember the picture of Eric running? Somedays…like yesterday, that’s me writing.
I hope when you find the thing that you do, the thing God made you to do on this earth, that you jump through the screen. Completely. Both feet. A total Peter Pan. And, when you do, and time is a casualty (which it always is), I hope you throw your head back and run like Eric. It’s a good place.
One bit of advice—when you get there, if your phone rings, don’t send it to voice mail and check it an hour later. Answer it on the first ring. Your children will thank you.