Rob and His Grandpa Buck. June, 2011.
"At the carousel? Or organ pavilion?" I texted to my son-in-law, confirming the location of his reenlistment ceremony. "Carousel," he replied.
The carousel in Balboa Park seemed like a funny place for a military ceremony. I stood with other family and friends and watched as Rob laid his hand on the bible, swore to devote the next six years to serving his country--our country. Calliope music and children shrieking could not drown out his strong, sure voice.
After the ceremony, my daughter passed out tickets and we all clambered aboard the merry-go-round, mounting ostriches, ponies, and zebras.
"Why here?" I asked. Rob looked at me, grave. "My grandfather used to help paint the animals here," he explained. "This was my grandmother's favorite place."
I've told you before about Rob's tender place for his grandmother. Today it brought me up short.
I wiped my eyes and suddenly my daughter was five again, with missing teeth and shining hair, racing to claim her favorite animal on the carousel. She climbed onto a giraffe on the outer row of the ride. As we twirled around, faster and faster, she fearlessly leaned far, far over, grabbing for the brass ring.
She was braver than I had been. I'd always clung tightly to the pole as a girl, too unsure of my balance to lean over and reach for the prize.
Returning to real time, the calliope wheezed, the animals began to circle, I clung to my pole. I looked back at my daughter, riding a tiger around and around, laughing and reaching for the brass ring.
I looked at my son-in-law, tall and assured, who dares to travel beneath the sea, submerged for months, to serve us.
And I was grateful for my daughter's reach, that she had leaned out into life, trusting her balance to help her grab onto something good. In marrying Rob, she certainly had claimed a prize.
Elaine, Relaxing on her Tiger.
116 Sustain me according to Your word, that I may live;
And do not let me be ashamed of my hope.Psalm 119:116 (NASB)