Last weekend we drove to Philadelphia to see our son.
We sat on his front porch in the late afternoon sun.
We walked through the neighborhood in which he lives to pick up dinner which we ate sitting and talking in his backyard. When it came time to go we gave each other a hug and said to each other what we say at the end of all our conversations and time together.
“I love you, Pops.” He said.
“I love you too.” I said.
Then added, “More than you will ever know.”
Later I realized that might not be true.
Someday he might have a child of his own.
Then he will know.
He will know what it feels like to want to protect and need to let go all at the same time.
He will know what it means to desperately want a magic wand to ward off all bad things and what a broken heart feels like when no magic wand appears in your hand.
He will come to know what it feels like to live each day with some combination of love and concern and hope and worry reaching out across time and space to wrap itself around the life of his daughter or son even when they are strong and capable and confident adults themselves.
He will know what it feels like to have his heart go walking around outside his body.
“I love you.” He said.
“I love you, too. More than you will ever know.”