A generation ago, my son Charlie and I had a weekend ritual. This is a poem I wrote at the time to commemorate the joy of being a dad to my son! Now he has a son about the age he was then; they have routines of their own. Wise is the man who can recognise a precious experience as it is happening. I remember remembering our happy days together. Charlie will be 31 on 1 February 2024. Happy Birthday, Son!

A Memory in the Making

There is a four-inch step down into my bedroom. Back in the ’90s, in the days my young son would awaken first, he would quietly tiptoe to my doorway and then leap off the step and come running, bounding into bed with me.


Don & Charlie Mathis, 1997

I could detect the giggle of his spirit and hear the gallop of five-year-old feet in my dreams. I would awaken at the sound of the bound and open my arms to catch his embrace. Then we would snuggle, and yawn, and hug.

Sometimes, we would go back to sleep. Other times, we would tell jokes and laugh, or talk – talk about how we’re feeling or what we’re going to do that day. We might talk about what happened the day before or about what will happen next week or next year.

It was all completely open, honest, and real. I would think later in the day of the wonderful way we would start the weekend morning and smile at the fresh memory.

One day, I realised that these wonderful awakenings would not last forever. One of these wondrous leaps would be the last one, and it would never happen again.

I longed to capture such moments, put them in a bottle to enjoy in the coming years. All I could do, though, was to savour the moment, to try to memorise the happy feeling – and to relish the love.

I miss those moments of miracles, but I cherish the affection that we had, that we still have, for each other. What else can one do?


About the Author: Don Mathis

Don’s life revolves around the many poetry circles in South Texas. His poems have been published in a hundred periodicals and broadcasted on TV and radio. Don has written news and reviews for various media and countless editorials about fatherhood. His political correspondence has prompted personal replies from George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and numerous other lawmakers. Find his work in the Daily Dad, the Good Men Project, and many other publications.

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