Thursday, March 16, 2006


Elliot invented a new game today. He calls it "Chase." The game basically involves running circles through our house. Sometimes with Daddy chasing Elliot. Sometimes with Elliot chasing Daddy. Sometimes with Olivia chasing Elliot chasing Daddy. From the Living Room to the Hallway to the Dining Room to the Living Room... And on and on and on.

It's the classic type of repetitive children's activity that defies all logic, where the same old thing a thousand times in a row manages to stay fresh and interesting and invigorating, even to a four-year-old with an attention span the length of -- well, a four-year-old. Marci says it's a sign of cabin fever -- a lack of outdoor play activity, a heart made sick by the deferral of spring's hope. But I say that it's the beginnings of a shift in power -- a systematic probing of the older generation's weaknesses and a semi-conscious discovery of the younger generation's strength and potential. The Chase is on.

How can I bring myself to say it? How can I bring myself to admit that I was physically conquered by my four-year-old son? It's embarrassing. Yet I must confess that I was gassed by the Chase.

At first it was just a fun diversion. An innocent affair. But Elliot really enjoyed the Chase. And over time, I started to despise the Chase. The soles of my feet started to develop hot spots; my breathing became labored; I had to strip off my outer shirt to accomodate for the rise of my body temperature... All while Elliot simply plowed ahead. From the Living Room to the Hallway to the Dining Room to the Living Room to the Hallway to the Dining Room to the Living Room. Again and again and again. We had to have been running non-stop for forty-five minutes, if it was ten. I steeled myself and determined not to stop before Elliot was tuckered out. But he was incredible. A machine. Not only did his little legs keep pounding, pounding, pounding. But he had lungs enough to sing! To sing and laugh and yell. And run.

In the end, it was only the (relative) shortness of Elliot's attention span -- not his shortness of breath -- that spared me true defeat. He found something else to occupy his attention while I collapsed on the couch and put my feet up. But as far as I know, he never tired. I don't know how he summoned such strength and endurance for the Chase Game -- especially when I must routinely carry him for parts of the 400 meter walk to the grocery store. All I know is that my boy is growing, developing, moving closer to the peak of physical strength... And I -- as much as I hate to admit it -- I am crested, slowly deteriorating, gradually descending the mountain on the other side of the "peak" of my physical prowess.

I suppose I'm being a bit melodramatic. With the body of a healthy 29-year-old, I'm certainly not complaining -- but even I can notice that I healed more quickly, moved more freely, and looked noticeably younger at the age of 25. I still have much life to live -- and I plan to make the most of it. Lord willing, I look forward to many more years of laughing and playing with my children as they grow older. Nevertheless, I caught a glimpse of the day when my teenage son will best me on the basketball court. I caught glimpse of the day in the future when Olivia will be carrying heavier boxes than I can manage. I caught a glimpse of the generational shift that is already (slowly) occurring.

I can't deny that the Chase is begun.


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