Walks and Talks

I most remember my father for his walks and talks with his student-athletes, our mother and us children, and his friends. We’d extend road trips, neighborhood walks, and hiking in the Blue Mountains to be able to continue our conversations with him. I do miss him even after eight years.

I am thankful for inheriting this characteristic (although my father was a storyteller, which I am not, sadly) as this week was magical. Each day the boys went on an early morning run with Christopher’s dog. Later we all walked for miles on the Boulder Creek Path, Mt. Sanitas Valley and Red Rocks Trails, around the CU-Boulder campus, to Wonderland Lake. We’d play musical chairs as we walked and talked (reminscent of the childhood book, “Big Dog and Little Dog”), always finding something to say to someone before holding back and picking up a conversation with another one of the group, before darting ahead to step into another conversation, or sometimes, strolling between the two in front and the two behind, enjoying the camaraderie of family and the expansive beauty of this area. The hours passed quickly with spontaneous smiles and hugs unencumbered by our normal daily lives.

Christopher planned and cooked the main meals for the week. Alex baked original desserts. Their creativity and willingness to try new dishes, sometimes with the bare essentials in the cupboard, other times after multiple trips to Ideal Market, amazed me, the now almost-non cook in the family. They shared their dinners with my brother Bruce and his family on Tuesday (15 of us) and the five of us and my brother Robert on Thanksgiving evening. Each meal was worthy of five stars, even accounting for the different dietary habits of our various guests.

We talked of books: books being published (Christopher and Kate have each recently had academic books accepted for publication by Cambridge University Press), books being read, books still in piles, pages not yet opened. We brainstormed ideas for Alex’s Connect A Book project (not surprisingly, about books, in web development stage), we discussed a name for our nascent family philanthropic fund, and Alex and Glory’s upcoming trip to Amsterdam, Denmark and Paris at Christmas. We shared reminiscences of other holidays when our sons were children, the conversations covering everything imaginable from the sublime to the mundane. I found old Christmas photographs of the boys in sailor outfits posing with Santa—such a long time ago!

What I loved most this week, though, was watching and listening as my two sons interacted, as they develop stronger bonds each year, sharing interests, encouragement, and ideas. They have each other even as they embrace their own families. What more could a mother want? And so we will continue to walk and talk when together and send digital messages when the several thousand miles separate us.

[Boulder reservoir from Dakota Ridge; photography courtesy of Alex Jeffries]


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